Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 776, Designing New Characters on the Stage of the Novel in the Initial Scene

19 August 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 776, Designing New Characters on the Stage of the Novel in the Initial Scene

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.

Let’s be very specific about setting and description in the initial scene (and all scenes). Set the stage of the novel. Here is a repeat of rule for writing number 4 (listed above).

  1. Don’t show (or tell) everything.

4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

The first step in writing a new novel is the development of characters. This occurs in conjunction with the design of the initial scene or at least the initial scene input. I have a setting: Edwards AFB (or whatever it was called at the time, Muroc, I think). I have an idea for the protagonist: Red Sonja, aka. Dorothy Smith, aka. Whatever her Soviet name is. The protagonist helper will be a military pilot. He’ll be an experimental test pilot and an officer. He’ll be single and a member of the X-15 test organization. Perhaps he’ll be one of the safety or chase pilots who is also moving into an X-15 test slot. The antagonist will likely be indirect—perhaps the USSR directly. This is a common approach in these types of novels.

The protagonist is a romantic archetype and beautifully pathetic. How can a spy be pathetic? This comes out of the way I like to write my novels. My novels are more about people than about plots or stuff. Imagine a spy who has been completely trained as a Soviet and a Marxist Communist plopped down into the capitalism of the 1960s. She has been taught about the evils of capitalism and the American system. She imagines all kinds of evils. She has been taught that God is dead and that Americans are evil, money-grubbing, unfair, selfish, etc. She was an orphan with nothing in the USSR. She shared a dormitory and a bathroom all her life. She had nothing in the USSR. Then she recives her assigned GS quarters on base. She receives her first paycheck. She goes to a restaurant in town. She goes to the O-Club. She goes to Chapel on base. Her boss, the pilot, is kind and sweet and not interested in having an affair with her. Her life slowly balls up between what she knows and what she discovers. The pathos will be entirely internal (or mostly internal). The reader will know, but others not so much.

Her telic flaw will be internal and external. The internal telic flaw is that she is a spy for the USSR, that is, her mindset and ideas. The external telic flaw is that she is a spy for the USSR. Can you imagine the pressure if you finally wanted to come out from the cold? The danger and the results of your decision?

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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