Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 949, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire

9 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 949, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire

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?

I wrote before, the Enchantment novels allowed me to explore plots and themes I couldn’t in my other novel series. The fifth novel in the Enchantment series is Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire. I know. I know. I told you don’t write a vampire novel and I did. I already wrote about it on this blog. I’m still of the opinion that you shouldn’t write a vampire novel…unless…unless you get an idea that is really different than any other vampire novel. I wrote that I already explored about ancient goddesses and redemption, a sorceress and redemption, and a demi-goddess sex slave and redemption—why not a vampire and redemption? Valeska investigates the potential for a vampire to be redeemed. In the case of Valeska, the gods and goddesses are those from the Celtic lands and Egypt. As in all my novels, the God plays a role.

Valeska is the protagonist of the novel. Valeska is a vampire and therefore a Romantic character. The reason is because she has powers and abilities outside the norm, plus she is at odds with her culture and society. This is by definition a vampire. Here is her description:

A movement caught him by surprise. It came from the dark alleyway away from the street. A small person moved very quickly from the opening to stand right in front of him. It stopped suddenly and whimpered, then sat on its haunches. It squatted outside of his reach and watched him. Its face was thin and pale. The face barely showed in his night vision goggle. That in itself was surprising. It wore clothing that seemed exceedingly fine, but which was filthy and obviously damp, the remains of a girl’s party dress. The dress had once been white with red or pink ribbons, but now it was torn and bedraggled. The ribbons blended with the stains on the dress. The stains seemed to be long dried blood and not just the dirt of the streets.

The girl, it was a girl, stared at him with bright eyes tinged with silver. They appeared slightly dull in the night vision goggle. Her hair was black and matted. It reached almost to the cobbles of the alleyway where she squatted. Her face was finely etched and hard. She let her tongue slip out of her mouth. She licked her lips. Her tongue was slightly pointed, and George could swear her incisors were elongated and pointed like fangs.

She raised her eyes to his and spoke. It wasn’t Polish. She pronounced her words in high German with a strange lilt. Her voice was low and melodious, “You, mortal man, you are dying.”

George groaned, “I’m dying. Can you call the police with my phone?”

She eyed him strangely, “I don’t have a phone here—what good would it do?”

“My iPhone. It fell at my side.”

She shrugged, “I don’t know what that is. I wouldn’t be able to use it. You are dying.”

“I am dying. Can you help me?”

The girl stared at him, “You are dying. It’s a full moon—I’m starving.”

George laughed and immediately wished he hadn’t. He felt the blood bubble from the wound at his front and his back. His laugh cut off suddenly, “What did you plan to do—eat me?”

“I’d like to dine on your blood.”

He wanted to laugh again, but stifled it, “Are you a vampire?”

The girl drew her finger across the cobbles, “I’m a vampire, and I’m very hungry. It’s a full moon, and you interrupted my hunt.”

A homeless vampire. There is much more to this story. Can you see why it is such a captivating and interesting idea? Who would have thought of an abandoned and homeless vampire? The idea immediately propels the protagonist into that of a pathos character. The more we learn about Valeska, the more we see the pathetic along with the Romantic:

George knew that voice. He took the final step into the alley’s opening. She stood in front of him. She barely reached to his shoulder. Her hair was long and thick and black. It was matted with dirt and leaves. Her dress looked more bedraggled than he remembered. The bodice now displayed a large bloody stain that was likely his blood. Hidden by her hair and the shadows, he couldn’t see her face clearly. What he could see appeared pale, and she shivered. Why a vampire might need to shiver, George couldn’t fathom.

George leaned toward her slightly, “Are you real?”

She half-cocked her head and raised her face to his. It looked ivory and dirty, and he thought he could see the tips of her fangs at the edge of her lips. When she opened her mouth, he could clearly see them, “Of course I am real. Last time we met, I saved your life.”

George stuck out his hands, “Yes…yes, last time you saved my life. Will I become a vampire now?”

She gave a choked off laugh, but she didn’t smile, “You will not become a vampire.”

Then when we see the cleaned-up Valeska:

The evening remained uneventful, and George headed home earlier than he expected. When he entered the flat, the sun was well down. Heidi sat at the kitchen table and nursed a mug of coffee. She raised her eyes to his when he entered.

George smiled, “Good evening. Did you rest well? No worse for wear?”

She smiled sweetly, “I do sleep—that’s what you wanted to know. I do not dream.” Her smile grew, “It was pleasant to sleep again on a bed and not in a tomb.”

“Warmer, I expect too.”

George took a good look at her. She still wore the shirt that was much too large, but though she kept pulling at the length, it covered her sufficiently. Her hair was brushed out. It still partially covered her face, but he could finally see her features clearly. She looked absolutely beautiful. Her face possessed a classic look. It appeared thin, perhaps too thin, but her eyes were large and her lips slightly pronounced. Her skin looked uniformly pale, like exquisite porcelain, and her face was finely etched in it. George didn’t wonder that Veilislaw or the sorcerer Heidi killed would desire to keep her as a lover or a pet. Such beauty seemed ethereal. Such beauty should be immortal and kept. George cleared his mind and heart. Her beauty might be worth preserving, but he was certain Heidi did not fully realize her own beauty.

Unearthly beauty is a Romantic characteristic. In spite of her beauty, Valeska is both a damaged person and a person who has learned much from her long experience of suffering. This is also the power of a vampire character—one you rarely if ever get to see in most literature that features vampires.

We see that Valeska is both a Romantic and a pathetic protagonist—and again, there is much more to the story than I can cover in this simple expose.

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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