Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 904, Publishing, Learning to Write, Communication

26 December 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 904, Publishing, Learning to Write, Communication

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

Merry second day of Christmas.

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

What is your strategy as a writer? What are your goals as a writer? I’ve heard from some that they write for themselves. I’ve heard from others that they write for therapy. That’s sweet. As long as these types of people stay out of the marketplace of writing and ideas—all is well. They hopefully won’t self-publish. I don’t want to disparage anyone’s goals that don’t interfere with mine.

Let’s look at writing from a philosophical standpoint. The only purpose for writing is to communicate. This should be obvious, but sometimes obvious doesn’t resonate with the modernly educated. Writing is a means of communication. Writing is also a much poorer means of communication than conversation. However, the study of language shows us that a written language allows the development of words and ideas outside the normal sphere of human conception. In other words, human thinking expands with the invention of the written word. As the Greeks noted, writing allows the concept of forms. For example, the word “chair” stands as a conceptual form for all chairs. A literate person sees the word chair (a form) and not an individual chair. A preliterate person can only imagine a specific chair—they have no word concept for “chair.” Chair can’t be a form to them. This also means the preliterate can’t imagine concepts that are only forms (don’t have analogues in the real world). Love is a form. It can’t be described by a physical action or a physical thing. Sex is an action. Kissing is an action. Love is a form. A preliterate person can’t imagine the concept of love. That is why most early languages have no word for love or very specific words that migrated to mean love. Note, Hebrew has no world for love. Greek delineates the specific type of love with ten separate words. Very euphemistic modern languages like Japanese have developed a word for love that can mean many different relationships based on context. Likewise English, also euphemistic, has a word “love” that can mean a host of ideas.

Writing is about communication. It allows us to communicate ideas that can’t be verbalized directly from our experience. If you realize this concept about writing, then you must understand writing can be accomplished for yourself or for therapy, but that is a completely untenable use of writing. Writing is for communication, and if it is not used for communication, it is not used for its ultimate purpose. It is like looking at a wonderful dinner and smearing it all over yourself for therapy or yourself. It may feel good when you are a baby, but it doesn’t achieve the purpose of dinner at any age or in any context. Writing is about communication. Next entertainment.

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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