Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 754, Shiggy, Protagonist

28 July 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 754, Shiggy, Protagonist

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, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

I just started writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Trainee. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is something like this: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, the dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos SiEssie is my 26th novel.

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 editing many of my novels using comments from my primary reader. I finished my 27th novel, working title Claire. I’m working on marketing materials.

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)

How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Here’s the theme statement from Sorcha.

Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

I started with Sorcha, but she is not the protagonist. The theme statement includes the protagonist—Shiggy Tash. Before we begin the novel, we must develop Shiggy Tash. It’s important to remember, Shiggy is the most important character in the novel—she is the protagonist. The entire character revelation, plot, and theme revolve around her and her telic flaw. Shiggy must have a telic flaw. This flaw defines her character and the theme. The plot always turns on the telic flaw resolution. The theme statement gives us a clue to Shiggy’s telic flaw, but we’ll get there. The first thing to start with is the name.

Ah, we have a name, but there is more to a name than simply a name. The first is this. Shiggy’s original name was Shiggaion Tash. Tash is from the middle English it means at asche or at the ash tree. Her last name is very important in the context of the novel. It is a creative element that becomes a long joke in the writing. It also applies directly to who she is and how she is treated.

Shiggaion is a Hebrew name. It means a song of trouble or comfort. It originated as an Israeli name. The name Shiggaion is most often used as a girl name or female name. You can already see Shiggy as a character is related to trouble and possibly comfort, along with at the ash tree. Her name is a great name—the Shiggy Tash part not Shiggaion, and the name applies directly to her character. More than that Shiggy and Shiggaion are creative elements that become a long running joke in the writing. Sorcha uses the appellation of Shiggy to demean and train Shiggy. Her other name is a song of trouble—this relates directly to the redemption of Shiggy Tash.

I could wax eloquent, and I will. When a person remakes themselves in the modern or the ancient world, they are christened with a new name. Early Christians did this for those who were baptized. Muslims do this for converts. The old Shiggaion Tash is dead, literally and officially. The new Shiggy Tash arises out of the ashes, so to speak.

The name of the protagonist is very important in the context of the novel. Perhaps I’ll explain more.

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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