Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 755, Shiggy, Protagonist’s Name

29 July 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 755, Shiggy, Protagonist’s Name

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.

Shiggaion Tash is the dangerous screw-up. This is her telic flaw. Actually, the novel delves much deeper than this. Her telic flaw is a triple: she has bad judgement and hasn’t been made to own up to her responsibility, she is cursed, and she really is a screw-up. Obviously, with her telic flaw, the plot and theme are set. The character revelation is just the fun part.

To represent the change in Shiggy, you could make a name change at the end—after the resolution of her telic flaw, or you could make it as part of her rehabilitation. This is just what I do.

A person’s name is ultimately the symbol that represents them in the world. Shiggaion, the song of trouble is forced and coerced to become Shiggy. Actually, she is threatened and punished to become Shiggy. Shiggy as compared to Shiggaion represents an entirely different kind of creature—or I should say person. The person of Shiggaion Tash is forced and coerced to become a Shiggy. Sorcha does all of this.

Sorcha’s job as a good protagonist’s helper is to direct Shiggy appropriately to the resolution of her telic flaw. Many writers don’t fully comprehend the purpose and power of the protagonist’s helper. They are usually the motivating force for the protagonist. I love to use protagonist’s helpers in my writing. They are in almost every one of my novels. Back to Shiggy Tash.

To take a person with bad judgement, who won’t take responsibility, who is cursed, and who is a real screw-up requires delicate and direct control. I wrote before, Shiggy represents a certain type of person whom we all know and try to get along with. There are plenty of Shiggy’s out there.   They are the pompous youth (or aged) who think they know everything, but really haven’t a clue. They are self-aggrandizing but can’t seem to get anything done. They are the person you have to work with in business, but their attitude and approach lets you know they don’t work with anyone. This was Shiggaion Tash. Shiggy Tash is something else entirely.

At the beginning of the novel, Shiggaion, the screw-up who was passed through multiple intelligence training programs has her name, her dignity, and her freedom taken from her. Shiggaion becomes a Shiggy. A Shiggaion has power and dignity even as a screw-up, as Shiggy does not.

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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