Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 934, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: A Season of Honor

25 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 934, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: A Season 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?

A Season of Honor was published in 2008 by then Capstone which became Oaktara publishing. A Season of Honor is the third 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 A Season of Honor is Shawn do Locke. Here is his description from the novel:

Shawn half-bowed, “You’ve always taken good care of me, Ian. Thank you.” Ian handed Shawn the crystal goblet and paused as he took it. He gazed intently at his longtime friend. Shawn was of average height, but lean. Ian overtopped him by almost ten centimeters. A man easy to underestimate, thought Ian; Shawn possessed an intensity of feature and movement that marked him in any crowd. In the subdued light of the hall, Shawn’s light gray eyes appeared translucent and glanced at Ian as if they could see into his very thoughts. You believed Shawn, you knew him, and you desired to be the center of his attention. His cheekbones and slim nose framed his mouth and pointed to every delicate expression that played upon his lips. Right now, a gentle smile touched the corners of his mouth. In Ian’s thoughts, Shawn looked Noble. Every time he thought about it, Ian was amazed that the decree of the Emperor disbarred this man was from his inheritance. Under his breath, Ian cursed the Landsritters and himself for letting the Emperor have his way in that.

We know Shawn du Locke. He is the erstwhile Prince John-Mark. He was banished at the end of The End of Honor, and he was reduced in rank to a Baron of the realm. Previously, Prince John-Mark was a Romantic Character. You can see from the description, he still has Romantic qualities. He is still a leader’s leader. He is considered a hero of the Empire. In A Season of Honor, he is set the task of brining Count Ian Acier’s daughter to the Imperial Capital of Arienth to meet the chosen bridegroom for her marriage. The problem is that Count Ian Acier’s daughter Elina could be the twin to Lyral Neuterra, the woman whose death, Shawn fought a war to revenge. You can see where this is going.

From the standpoint of a character and entertainment, Shawn is a Romantic character. He is not really a pathetic character. He was made into a pathos type character at the end of A Season of Honor, but the pathos here is again held for the protagonist’s helper, Elina. She is the one who must ultimately put up with Shawn, her father’s choice for a mate, and the Emperor’s conniving.

The point about my currently published novels is that, except for The Second Mission, they are all developed around a Romantic protagonist. I hadn’t figured out about using pathos for building a protagonist. My next novel shows maturity in my writing development. The next novel is Sister of Light, it is currently under contract and is supposed to be published in the near future.

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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