Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 933, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: The Fox’s Honor

24 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 933, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: The Fox’s 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 Fox’s Honor was published in 2008 by then Capstone which became Oaktara publishing. The Fox’s Honor is second 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 Fox’s Honor is Devon Rathenberg. Here is his description from the novel:

Of particular interest, to their disdain, were the less choice of the young gentlemen. Those men who through valor and accomplishment attained noble standing, yet whose manner pointed irrevocably to their previous unpolished beginnings. One such gentleman aroused even the looks of the Duke, and a quaint unsettled quiver of his eyebrows left no doubt of his thoughts.

This young man was arrayed in colloquial finery. An officer’s uniform, yes, but the style and the natural materials left little doubt that it and its owner obviously came from a culturally deprived planet. The gentleman’s boots were real leather; they creaked. His pants bloused over his boot tops, and as he walked they swaggered like a Cossack dance.

The seneschal announced the young officer, “Sir Devon de Tieg, Knight of the Red Cross.” A small number of the Duke’s less cautious guests let loose a traveling titter that lost its momentum in a few muffled guffaws.

The knight said nothing. Those who recognized the order of Knight of the Red Cross instantly sobered, and the Duke made a second appraisal of the man.

The knight’s eye glinted with his bold smile, and he strode across the broad floor of the ballroom. His ceremonial dagger clinked against his left leg, balanced by an oddly shaped cylinder on his right, and his knight’s spurs jingled with each step. He stopped with a flourish and a low bow before the Duke, “My lord Falkeep, will you grant me the privilege of a dance with your daughter, the Lady Tamar?”

Devon Rathenberg is a member of the aristocracy and the head of the Emperor’s intelligence forces. He is the Fox. I should have mentioned yesterday, Prince John-Mark was referred to as the Dragon because of his military and leadership prowess. Devon Rathenberg was referred to as the Fox because of his leadership and intelligence prowess. Thus, the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox are about the adventures of these two men.

You can see the development of Devon Rathenberg as a Romantic character. He is a genius in leadership and intelligence. The problem is that Devon Rathenberg devised a plan to unmask and capture the enemies of the Empire. The plan is a duel in which Devon must die. At the same time, Devon wants to declare his love to Tamar Falkeep. The protagonist is Devon Rathenberg, who is a Romantic character. He loses his honor and is thought dead from the duel.

There are undertones of pathos in Devon’s struggles, but the real pathos comes from his protagonist’s helper, Tamar Falkeep. The point is that Devon is wholly a Romantic character with little pathos interjected in. Still, the power of pathos in a Romantic character should be evident and the fact that a protagonist’s helper can add pathos illustrates a powerful tool for the writer. I should have mentioned that Abenadar in Centurion has a protagonist’s helper, Ruth, who has a very strong pathos development. The last novel in the series is, A Season of 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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