Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 602, more Examples Tone Q and A

27 February 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 602, more Examples Tone Q and A

Announcement:  Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy.  You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com.  Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.

I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:

1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.

All novels have five discrete parts:
1.  The initial scene (the beginning)
2.  The rising action
3.  The climax
4.  The falling action
5.  The dénouement

The theme statement of my 26th novel, working title, Shape, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Escape from FreedomEscape is my 25th novel.

 Escape Cover proposal sm
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action.  I’m on my first editing run-through of Shape.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:

  1. Historical extrapolation
  2. Technological extrapolation
  3. Intellectual extrapolation

Creativity is like an extrapolation of what has been.  It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect).  Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.

One of my blog readers posed these questions.  I’ll use the next few weeks to answer them.

  1. Conflict/tension between characters
  2. Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
  3. Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
  4. Evolving vs static character
  5. Language and style
  6. Verbal, gesture, action
  7. Words employed
  8. Sentence length
  9. Complexity
  10. Type of grammar
  11. Diction
  12. Field of reference or allusion
  13. Tone – how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.
  14. Mannerism suggested by speech
  15. Style
  16. Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter’s style includes gaps, silences, non-sequitors, and fragments while Chekhov’s includes ‘apparent’ inconclusiveness).

Moving on to 13. 13.  Tone – how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.

I’m writing from Florida–thought you should know.

If tone is the feel of the writing, the author must start first with what tone he wants to convey.

Aksinya is a great example of tone in a novel. The novel moves from horror and murder to blissful elegance and high society. The tone of the scenes range from love to hate and from great happiness to despair. The peaks of human emotion and human suffering are found in Aksinya—the tone of the novel must therefore fit the scenes. Here is the scene just after the initial scene—in it Aksinya finds her family is already dead. Can you guess the tone?

The world swirled in darkness. Aksinya was dizzy and she felt herself rise up and away from the earth. They moved through earth and stone and then air. The night was as dark as her cellar. The air was colder. Aksinya felt a pain in her legs that spread to her hips. She felt as though she had run miles and miles and she was still running. Her breath came in gasps. Then they were at the front door to her house. It was a mansion. Her father’s house. It was large and beautiful. It was the most beautiful building for over a hundred miles around. Her father’s family had kept it for generations and generations. A large white stone drive wound up to the front and circled statues and lawn. The ground and drive was covered with a thick blanket of snow. And all around the drive were what looked like fallen statues. They were pale and still. They were statues dressed in finery. Beneath them spread dark stains on the blazing white snow.

The moment her feet touched the ground, Aksinya collapsed onto the snow. She lay there unable to breath. Slowly, slowly, she raised up her body. She couldn’t move her legs. They burned. The freezing snow didn’t seem to cool them. The locket at her breast felt as though it sizzled with heat. She gazed across the drive and her mouth opened—not a sound came out. She could not speak. She could only lay there and stare.

Asmodeus picked his teeth, “You were a bit too late, little girl. So you called me to save them, but you were too late, and now you are marked for hell for nothing.”

“Zatknis’[1], demon.”

“Is that your brother over there? I think I recognize his clothing. That is certainly your mother and your sister. They didn’t take the time to ravish them—unfortunate, but that should make you feel better.”

“I can’t stand.”

“I told you if I touched you it would be better for your body.”

“What happened to me?”

“If you rest in the bosom of the devil, your body will be protected, but your soul will be eaten away. If you choose to come with me, your body is affected by the world we pass through.”

“Pick me up, demon.”

“Do you know what you ask?”

“Pick me up. I cannot walk. I wish to see them.”

Asmodeus picked her up in his arms. He was unusually gentle. He smelled of myrrh and sulfur. His skin was hot and dry. In the cold evening, it felt comforting to Aksinya like sitting close to a warm fireplace.

“Take me to my father.”

The demon strode to a body cast down on the drive. The man’s coat had been removed. His shirt was dark with blood. Asmodeus tightened his grip, “I would not look at his face. They shot him there. It is your father Count Andrei Nikolaevich Golitsyna. He is dead.”

“Why should I believe you? You are used to lying. It is a habit with you.”

“But I can’t lie to you, my lady.”

“I wish to see my mother.”

The demon carried her to where a woman lay. A young woman held her hand. They both didn’t move.

Aksinya’s voice sounded emotionless to her, “Is anyone alive?”

“No, my lady, they are all dead.”

“Do you swear?”

“I cannot swear. I can only tell you the truth.”

“I wish to kiss my mother and my sister and my brother. Bring them over and take me close to them.”

The demon gently carried each of the bodies over and moved them close to one another. He let Aksinya down near their heads. She touched the face of each and kissed them.   Aksinya didn’t look at Asmodeus, “Bring my father here and put him beside them.”

“I told you before.”

“Do it!”

“Yes, mistress.”

Aksinya didn’t look at her father’s face. She took his hand and kissed it. She still didn’t look at Asmodeus, “Bring the others. My maid and my governess, the priest. Place them where I can touch them.”

The demon collected their bodies and put them near Aksinya. She touched their cheeks and kissed them each in farewell.

The demon stood across from her, “You have not cried a single tear for them?”

“Is that so odd?”

“Already your soul becomes mine. I cannot weep for anyone or anything either.”

“Why should I shed a tear for those I cannot help? The time for tears is well past. The time for revenge is at hand.”

“It will not bring back your family or your friends.”

“But it will ease my soul. Why would you dissuade me from it Demon?”

Asmodeus blinked.

“This is my order to you. Those that killed my family and these servants. Find them and kill them. Return with their bodies and place them here before me.”

“You are truly a fine mistress. Already I am called to death and destruction. Hell will welcome you.”

“Enough of your lip. Go now.”

Asmodeus bowed. The darkness shimmered for a moment, then he was gone. The locket at Aksinya’s breast began to burn.

In this scene, the tone is stark with bright delineations between life and death. We find out later that the demon intentionally delayed so Aksinya’s family would be murdered. At this moment, the reader can do nothing but mourn, and yet, Akisnya doesn’t mourn. She can’t mourn and the demon notes this. The tone changes with the end of the scene as Aksinya seeks revenge. Right now, I want you to get the feel of tone—later we will look at the how of the tone.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:


fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic


About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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