Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 865, Ending the Conversation, Developing Conversation on the Stage of the Novel

16 November 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 865, Ending the Conversation, 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 the ending.

You can end many conversations with a simple parting salutation: goodbye, good evening, good morning, bye, and all. You can end a conversation when one of the characters takes an action step or cuts off the conversation in another way. The means and method of cutting off the conversation is a great indicator of the conclusion of the conversation. If people are all kisses, they usually are happy. If someone takes a swing at another, someone is unhappy.

Generally, the author has more options for ending a conversation than for beginning a conversation. The beginning is set by cultural and social standards—the end may be. If everyone keeps a civil tongue in their heads and says “bye,” the world and social order is good. If they don’t, there might be hell to pay.

Here is an example of a beginning and an ending. This is from my yet unpublished novel Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire. You can see all the parts I mentioned except the transition to the deeper words.

At 1900 on Friday, 12 December George and Heidi stood in front of the Lyons House. Two rather new looking stone lions sat at either side of the very large oak door. The house the door fronted looked large and beautiful. Its facing was stone and brick in the emperor style. It appeared very old. George wore a suit and an inexpensive Christmas tie. Heidi wore a very frilly white dress with red and green panels on the skirt and the top. She wore a jaunty beret made of the same white lace, red, and green material as the dress. It was a warm enough evening that they didn’t require their coats. The ground was wet, but the rain stopped earlier in the afternoon.

A young looking butler opened the door to them, “Good evening. I’m Harold, the butler. May I announce you?”

George proffered his invitation, “George Mardling and my niece Heidi Mardling.”

The butler smiled, “The receiving line just ended. Please follow me.”

They stepped through the door, and the butler closed it after them. Harold stepped ahead of them. Heidi whispered to George, “Did you time our arrival to intentionally miss the receiving line?”

George grinned behind his hand, “I don’t have to give up all my trade secrets to you, do I?”

The butler led them down the hallway off the foyer. It opened into a classical large ballroom with twin staircases at the back. Dark and ancient wood paneled the interior. The rugs were Turkish and slightly ragged. Heidi cocked her head, “A very wealthy and old family.”

George smiled back, “Perhaps.”

The room was not crowded with people, but at least fifteen couples stood in the space. Buffet tables filled with food and drink were stationed under the stairs. A quartet at the left side played Christmas music intermixed with classics. Harold, the butler, led Heidi and George toward a handsome middle-aged couple at the side. The man was medium height and shorter than George. His hair was light brown and his features were fine but nondescript. He possessed a very pleasant face with a few wrinkles–most seemed to grace his eyes and lips as though he was used to smiling.

The woman looked slight, petite and exquisitely beautiful. Her skin was the color of cappuccino. Her hair was black, long, and silky. Her eyes seemed more appropriate on an Egyptian tomb painting and were large and brown and exotic. She possessed an almost timeless appearance, but slight wrinkles marked her eyes and lips in almost the same measure as the man—as though they had known many of the same joys and sorrows.

The butler stepped to the side, “Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Long, may I present Mr. George Mardling and his niece Ms. Heidi Mardling.”

Mrs. Long immediately stepped forward and put her hand out to Heidi. She maintained a very bright smile on her face. She took Heidi’s hand in hers and her eyes went wide. Heidi instantly released Mrs. Long’s hand. Mrs. Long became breathless. She stammered a little, “Good evening. I’m Sveta Long.”

Heidi made a deep curtsy, “Thank you very much, Mrs. Long for inviting us to your party.”

Sveta reached out to Heidi again. Heidi stepped back, but Sveta connected with Heidi’s shoulder. Sveta froze, and her head came up. She frowned and stammered again, “You’re very welcome. Make yourself comfortable in our home,” but her face clearly said exactly the opposite.

This is the ending of this particular conversation. The deeper words have flowed, and the tension has been released a couple of times, but the end is civil, but not as pleasant as at least one of the participants would have liked.  Here is a continuation of the conversation.

Heidi backed around the chair. She kept Sveta at her front.

Sveta sighed, “You don’t need to fear me. I promise—I’ll not attack you. I think we can still work together to the same ends.”

Heidi perked up, “Do you truly promise?”

“I do… I do promise, by the last and all.” The air crackled in the room.

Heidi smiled, “You may regret that you ever made such a promise, but I do accept it. I can’t handle anything more tonight. I thank you for your hospitality.” She backed to the door. When Heidi touched the door handle, Harold opened the door from the other side. Heidi curtsied and ran through the opening.

This ending isn’t necessarily positive and it isn’t completely civil. Heidi keeps it within her cultural bounds and potentially irritates the, you know what, out of Sveta. The point is the conversation and the ending. I can give you other examples.

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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