Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 932, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: The End of Honor

23 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 932, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: The End of Honor

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.

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

Would you like to write a novel that a publisher will consider? Would you like to write a novel that is published? How about one that sells?

The End of Honor was published in 2008 by then Capstone which became Oaktara publishing. The End of Honor is one of my science fiction novels. It’s the first novel in the three novel series, The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. This series of novels is about an intragalactic conflict in the Human Galactic Empire. I based the culture and society on the ancient Anglo-Saxons. The leaders in the culture are based on genetic manipulation for leadership traits. The protagonist of The End of Honor is the Prince John-Mark. Here is his description from the novel:

He was really very young, almost as young as I. In spite of his youthful looks, he was dressed in the uniform of a major in the Emperor’s Huscarls, the Emperor’s private guard. I immediately thought it odd a lowly major should be conversing with my father in his private study, but then, I noticed the drapue and gold of a nobleman. Still, my Father had few dealings with noblemen of so low a rank to be only a major in any force. I wanted to be courteous, and at the same time find out what he was doing here.

At my words, the major snatched his hand back in embarrassment. He swayed off balance in the window for a moment, then caught himself with both hands on the lip of the sill. He seemed a little taken aback by my appearance, as though I’d caught him in a forbidden act.

When he didn’t answer my initial question, I repeated myself, “I said, may I help you?”

He smiled. I remembered that smile even to my grave. I remember it now: his eyes, a washed gray lit like glowing stones. They were as clear as a spring of water. The corners of his mouth curled into a hundred expressions at once, then his upper lip raised slightly showing the tips of his teeth. He sported a mustache and goatee. These accentuated his features and telegraphed the humor in his thoughts to me. His clear eyes seemed to catch me like a camera. They at once appraised me and, like a photograph, cataloged me, frozen in mid-stride.

Prince John-Mark is a Prince. He is also a military leader. He is considered one of the, if not the premier military leader in the Human Galactic Empire. You can see already, Prince John-Mark has the makings of a Romantic character. He is the military leader that every leader wants to be. He is a tactician and strategist of rare skill. Prince John-Mark is the man you would want to lead you and whom you would want to have a drink with afterward. He is skilled in working with all levels of people, and he is courting the Lady Lyral Neuterra. Prince John-Mark has great plans. He wishes to join with the family Neuterra and produce a new branch of the House Imperial. His plans are destroyed when his brother murders his fiancée and his father.

You might imagine that Prince John-Mark might take on attributes of a pathetic character with the death of his father and love. He does to a degree. I might have played on this more in the novel, but I didn’t want to dilute his power or his tragic nature. There we have it—part of the power of tragedy is pathos and the Romantic power of the character. The Greeks expected their characters to always have the quality of dikasune (we translate this as righteousness, but is more accurately translated balance). The Greek characteristic of dikasune is similar to our idea of a Romantic character. Although The End of Honor is not a tragedy, it has tragic overtones.

In this novel, I began to perfect my development of the Romantic character, and I also began to work on the power of pathos in the character’s life and revelation. This continues and builds in the next novel, The Fox’s Honor.

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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