Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 811, Climax Examples, Sorcha

23 September 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 811, Climax Examples, Sorcha

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 started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja.

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. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.

Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

I’m writing about how to develop the climax of a novel. I’m giving examples from my published and yet to be published novels. I’ll try not to introduce spoilers. You can’t read some of these novels yet, but it’s worth writing about the process of developing the climax for them. I have two contracted novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. These are supposed to be published in a three-in-one with Aegypt and individually. The economy has delayed their publication. These first three novels are called Ancient Light. They include Aegypt, Sister of Light, and Sister of Darkness. In addition to the Ancient Light novels, I’ve written some very fun novels I call my enchantment novels. The eighth is Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

Many of my novels include a covert intelligence theme. In Sorcha, I just take it to a higher level. The protagonist of Sorcha is Shiggy. Shiggy is a very intelligent woman who has been through every type of British intelligence training possible.   She has failed miserably at each. The problem with Shiggy is Shiggy—and something else. Shiggy is not an odd being or a creature, she is a human. There are odd beings and creatures all around her, but, at first, she is just a normal human. Shiggy’s character stands for all the bad things people currently imagine about millennials.

Sorcha takes Shiggy on as an intelligence training project. If she can’t turn the problem child into an effective agent, no one can. Thus begins the education of Shiggy. The problem with Shiggy, is not just her upbringing, but also her lineage. Shiggy is cursed. Still most of her problems are her own problems, but she does have this strange problem of a curse.

Shiggy’s telic flaw is that she is cursed. This doesn’t exactly mean what you might think it does, but the answer isn’t really to get rid of the curse. Still, the expected climax is that Shiggy gets rid of her curse. From the nature of the curse and any curse, we know this won’t happen. Thus, the expected climax can only have an unexpected resolution. This is again, the power of a theme that drives an impossible climax. I’ll note once more, the climax must have an action based resolution.

I think I’ve made myself clear, there is great power in a theme that has an expected climax that is not possible. This makes it possible for the author to either provide a reasoned means for the climax to become possible or to provide a very unexpected resolution—an unexpected climax. I’m in great favor of this. Many themes logically can’t have the expected climax—not without some kind of really powerful trick. We don’t want a deus ex machina, and we don’t want the invention of an imaginary world where such events can come true. For example, how much more powerful is it when I write: Shiggy’s curse can’t be broken—it is a part of her. The climax that breaks her curse also breaks her. That’s no good. On the other hand, the unexpected resolution that leaves the curse, but resolves her telic flaw—now, that is powerful. That isn’t to say, it might be possible for an author to develop a climax that solves Shiggy’s problem more directly. I just don’t like those kinds of climaxes, and I like my worlds to be much more developed and based in actual human affairs. The hopelessness of a person who has some kind of issue that they can’t repair is much more powerful when they overcome it, than one which is simply internal or based on bad habits (laziness, weakness, etc.). For example, if I wrote about a disabled person who overcomes their disabilities that is a much more powerful story than a fully able person who decides to work harder. My style is to present spiritual disabilities (vampire, shape-shifter, cursed, goddess, demi-goddess) those who are fated to be beings whom we would consider irredeemable who in some way find redemption. The fact that their fate is the problem provides a powerful motif for the unexpected resolution.

Another novel I’ve written is Antebellum.

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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