Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 858, Deeper Words, Developing Conversation on the Stage of the Novel

9 November 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 858, Deeper Words, Developing Conversation on the Stage of the Novel

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.

Let’s go back to the beginning. I’ll use my newest novel as an example. It’s a historical novel, and you can see the theme statement just above. Let’s look at a novel from the standpoint of a stage play. A novel is not a stage play or a screenplay, but the author should approach some aspects of the novel from this vantage point.

In setting the stage of the novel follow my rules for writing 4a above:

4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.

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

All conversations follow a similar development and cycle of events. If an author is sensitive to this development and cycle, he can write more natural sounding (read realistic) conversation. The cycle of conversation moves like this: greetings, introductions, casual words, deeper words, ending. Let’s look at deeper words.

Here is an example of transitioning to deeper words from my as yet unpublished novel, Valeska Enchantment and the Vampire. I perhaps should give you a little more of their earlier conversations. In any case, you can clearly see the transition from casual to deeper words. My point is very clear here. I place my characters in a comfortable situation where they can speak together.

George closed the door and took his coat off her shoulders. In the bright light, she appeared dirtier than George realized. He grimaced and led her down the hall. At the end of the hall, the rail turned the corner to the right and into a tiled formal dining area. White carpeted stairs led from the dining area down into the white carpeted living room.

The table in the dining room was glass and chrome and the chairs were white fabric and chrome. George intentionally led Heidi to the left. On the left lay the kitchen and a small dining area. The chairs and the table were also white fabric and chrome. George waved at the four chairs around the table, “Take a seat.”

Heidi plopped the sack on the table and pulled out the two boxes. She placed one at one side of the table and the other at the other side of the table. George brought over a couple of spoons. He put them beside the boxes. George gestured again, “Sit.”

Heidi glanced at the floor, “Nicolas was right. I’m filthy. If I sit on this white chair, it may never be the same again.”

George sat and opened his box, “Sit down. It will piss off the cleaning crew, but I don’t make many messes at all. If you leave a permanent mark, my company will pick up the tab.”

Heidi primly tucked the remains of her dress under her bottom and sat. She picked up her spoon and opened the box.

George glanced over at hers, “Nicolas outdid himself. I think this is his way of asking forgiveness.”

Heidi took a bite of the ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate and closed her eyes. A smile crept across her very dirty face, “This is so wonderful.” Her stomach growled. She dug in.

George noted that she ate with quiet dignity, like a person from a military academy. George should know. He spent much of his youth at those kinds of schools. She possessed the manners of a very wealthy and well brought up young lady. George tasted a bite of the parfait, then he asked, “How old are you?”

“That is a woman’s prerogative, but I shall tell you that I was born in 1800 in Danzig which was then part of Prussia. Do you want to hear my entire story?”

“Yes, very much.”

“I very much want to tell it because, truth be told, I’ve never recounted it to anyone before.”


“Never. You will be the first.”

George nodded.

Heidi took a bite of her parfait. She smiled brightly, “I was brought up as an upper class young woman. My father was a merchant and a wealthy one. I went to a private school, and I studied dancing, needlepoint, and managing a home, along with all the other subjects like math, German, history, and those kinds of subjects, but that wasn’t what I wanted to study.”

The conversation moves gently from the casual to moderately deep. You can see the major characters make this possible, but the environment is very comfortable, although the people are not. This is how you move a conversation into deeper ideas and revelation. Notice also, this is a direct beginning of a revelation. The revelation comes out of the mouth of the character. That is the point of good fiction. I’ll give you another example.

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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