Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 860, Diner, Deeper Word Examples, Developing Conversation on the Stage of the Novel

11 November 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 860, Diner, Deeper Word Examples, 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.

The example below is again from Valeska: Enchantment of the Vampire. This is a yet uncontracted novel. I haven’t mentioned my favorite method of engaging conversation from casual to deep—that is at dinner. You can use almost any meal, breakfast, lunch, supper, tea, or dinner, but dinner is the best. I also like tea, but that is almost exclusively British. I use tea all the time to broach deeper conversation. Perhaps I shall give you an example of that next.

Dinner is one of the best settings for moving a conversation from casual to deep. Here is an example that does just that. I show you the greeting, no introductions required, but there is one. The conversation begins with casual and moves slowly to very deep. I didn’t show the true level of depth here. In fact, George asks Leila to marry him. The setting is dinner, the method is candor. In this example, Leila has given up any pretense—she is simply willing to speak her mind. The novel drives to this. Do you have to use an entire novel to move to deep conversation? Sometimes.

Scáth and Heidi brought nothing new to report the next morning. That evening, after they left gone on their rounds, George stepped out of the apartment building and almost ran into a young woman wearing a charcoal dress. Her hair fell long and pulled to the side. Leila laughed at him, “Am I so changed that you don’t recognize me.”

George jumped back, “I really didn’t.”

“It isn’t another Leila, and I wasn’t trying to hide.”

George smiled and gave her his arm, “This meeting wasn’t as scary as last night.”

“I’m on my best behavior.”

George led her to Deane’s Restaurant on Howard Street. George made a reservation. The maitre de sat them at a relatively private table near the front. The dining room was painted a pastel red, and white tablecloths covered the tables.

Leila seemed very happy.

George glanced at the wine menu and ordered immediately, “Bring us a bottle of the Riesling, Dr. Loosen Estate, Mosel.”

Leila raised her brow, “You didn’t give me a choice?”

“I know what you like.”

“My tastes can change, but your selection sounds grand.”

George hid his laughter, “I’ll order the set three course for us, but you can choose what you would like.”

She grinned.

The waiter poured the wine, and Leila took a long drink, “You chose a very pleasant wine. Thank you.”

George ordered the three course set menu. For the appetizer, Leila selected the roast tomato soup to begin and chicken for her entree. George chose the ham hock appetizer and beef. Because the restaurant regularly served the theater crowd, the food came around quickly. Leila finished her soup and ate a couple of pieces of bread before George fairly started on his appetizer. He offered, “Would you like a bite of mine?”

Leila smacked her lips, “May I?”

George shook his head and split his appetizer with her, “You haven’t eaten since last night—have you?”

“Haven’t eaten a bite since then.”

“Really, Leila, you can’t go on like this.”

She smiled, “I certainly can if you’ll continue to feed me.”

“Right after dinner, I’m going to buy you some groceries.”

“Really! That would just take away some of the motivation.”

“I assure you, I don’t need that kind of motivation…. The important point is where do we go from here?”

She shrugged one shoulder, “As long as you don’t let the cat out of the bag, we can continue this way for a long while.”

George grimaced, “That’s not exactly what I meant. I mean first of all, what are your plans, and second, how do we progress?”

Leila took a bite of a third piece of bread, “My plans have been the same since I was about ten or twelve. I want to design weapons—pistols to be exact. The only way I figured I could get into the business was to start my own. I’ve been putting everything into place for years. I just set the final signature on the plant. I have my workers. I have my first storefront. The designs have been finalized for years. Things are moving hopingly.”

“I see.”

Leila turned her head, “About you and me. I’m happy to be your friend for now. I’m not certain how far we can progress forward with that, but I’d like to try for friend then girlfriend…” Her smile slipped, “I’m really afraid that’s about as far as I can hope to go.”

“Why’s that?”

“I know you are wedded to the organization. I’ve gone rogue. You can’t hang around me for very long and keep your position. They’ll eventually get tired of your lack of progress and recall you. Then they’ll send someone else to look for me or give up. They really can’t fire you after reading you into Stele. No matter what you see in spy novels, they don’t kill people to keep them quiet. I’m sure they’ll have work for you…or perhaps they’ll move you back into being an MI share again.”

“How did you know about me being an MI share—that wasn’t in the copy of my records you had before…”

“Sorry about that—I actually borrowed a copy of your complete records from Aunt Sveta.”

“She didn’t know, did she?”

Leila grinned, “Of course she didn’t know. No one knows. I do as I wish now…actually have done as I wished for a long time.”

The waiter brought their entrees.

Leila tucked in almost immediately.

George took a bite of the beef. He wiped his lips, “I think you’ve read things correctly, but you didn’t mention two important pieces, one that concerns me, and the other that should concern you.”

Do you have to use an entire novel to reach the point of a deeper conversation? In fact, in some cultures and societies this is absolutely true. I don’t usually use this method in an entire novel. I don’t base all my writing on cross communication and misunderstandings, but you can. Just the fact I bring these to mind mean they are wonderful methods at preventing deep conversation. There is the question, should the author not provide an opportunity for deep conversation? The answer is yes.

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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