Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 951, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si

11 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 951, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si

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 seventh novel in the Enchantment series is Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si. Your first question might be: what is an Aos Si? Great question. The Aos Si is a mythical shape-changing creature from the British Isles. The Aos Si is usually depicted as a great black cat with a white mark on its chest. I take this idea a little further. The Aos Si is considered to be a Fae being and yet not a Fae being. This is what intrigued me. The Fae are the fairies and the fairy courts. In Western mythology, the fairies are thought to be the angels who didn’t side with Satan or God in the war in the heavens. They were neutral and therefore banished to live their lives on earth away from the environs of heaven. In this novel, I ask the question, could the Fae be redeemed?

Essie is the Fae’s redeemer—she is also the Aos Si. I wanted to explore the idea of a shape-changer, but I didn’t want to get into the average werewolf angle. That been way overused. My focus was the Aos Si as a redeemer for the Fae. Here is Essie’s description:

Mrs. Lyons examined her intruder. The girl looked dirty, very dirty, and was completely unclothed. Old scars crisscrossed her back and flanks as though she had been beaten with regularity. Her face looked a bit dirtier than the rest of her. Mrs. Lyons couldn’t really tell what she looked like under all the grime. Her hair was long and back and silky. Filled with grease and bits of leaf mold and dirt, it looked as dirty as her thin body. She was small and looked malnourished. Mrs. Lyons was almost twice the girl’s size, but she was a tall woman. She could tell the girl was fully mature, that is as women went, but young, very young.

Essie is an immediately pathetic character. I might add, she was captured by Mrs. Lyons while she robbed her kitchen of ham. At the same time, Essie is the Aos Si:

Mrs. Lyons glanced down at her feet. Essie’s face and body were changing. Mrs. Lyons heard bone crack and sinew reverberate. She could barely stand to watch it. Essie didn’t shrink, but her hair grew to cover her entire body. Her face and arms and legs deformed and molded to something else entirely. Her shape changed from a young woman to an animal—a large black animal—a cat. When the change was complete, Essie twisted out of her clothing and paced warily near Mrs. Lyons. The cat stared at the men in a way Mrs. Lyons had never seen Essie stare at anything or anyone before.

The older man called out, “Please, Mrs. Lyons. Let my sons move out of its way. It’s in a murderous mood, and it might just attack them now.”

“If she’s in a murderous mood, it is entirely your fault. If you touch her again, I shall kill you—each of you.”

“I understand, Mrs. Lyons. It may attack you…have you thought of that?”

“She will not attack me. You two, move out of her way. Let her have some space. Both of you move to my left.” Mrs. Lyons pointed with the barrel of her pistol.

The two men dove to the side Mrs. Lyons indicated. Essie, now a large black wild cat, leapt into the place where they once stood. She turned toward them all and let out a feral scream. A large patch of white hair marked her breast. Mrs. Lyons nodded toward the creature, “You go now Essie. These men can’t harm me. Go. Now.”

Even when Essie becomes the Aos Si, at first, she remains a pathetic character. She was captured initially and held in a cage. She was beaten to prevent her from changing into the Aos Si. Even the name Mrs. Lyons calls her is a mispronunciation of the name Aos Si. When Essia takes her place, things become somewhat different:

Essie, the Aos Si stood in the center of the meadow for a long moment. She began to pace around the center until she had beaten down the grass. She stood still and turned. One moment, she appeared as a black wildcat—the next, she stood in the middle, a naked black-haired woman-child. A great cry went up all around her, but she couldn’t tell if that was because of her nakedness or because they recognized her.

Essie turned around slowly twice more to make certain they all saw her. She spoke the language of the fae. It sounded a bit rusty on her tongue, but she knew it, and she spoke it very sternly, “Listen to me. I am the Aos Si, and I have come for a reckoning.” The sunlight suddenly blazed full on the center of the meadow. A rush of morning breeze rustled in the tops of the trees. A bright light seemed to settle at the top of Essie’s head—like a tongue of dancing flames.

No one spoke.

Essie cried out, “Are you afraid? You should be. You took a human who is under my care. Bring her immediately to me.”

Still she heard not a sound.

Essie stepped to the closest repast and kicked over the woven platters there. She knocked over their clay cups and broke them against each other. She tore apart the platters. She gathered the pieces and the fae food and kicked them into the center. She began to squat above them on the center of the knoll.

Moans went up. A voice rang out of the mist, “Stop. Don’t desecrate this place any further.”

Essie stood, “I have barely begun to desecrate it. I have not loosed my power at all. You have not showed me the honor I deserve.”

The voice filled with anguish, “Must we?”

“I demand it. I am the Aos Si, and I demand you honor me as you are required.”

A sudden cry went up. Angry voices surrounded her.

Essie stood silently. She remained completely at ease. She sat in her hip. She didn’t attempt to hide her nakedness. Essie yawned, “You might as well show yourselves. I can detect you all anyway. I know where you are, and I know who you are. Pryderi fab Pwyll of the Tylwyth Teg show yourself.”

“Nay. This not fitting. We may not look upon you while you are…you are…”

“While I am not clothed? Then bring me my robes and give me my proper greeting. Have you been so long without my guidance that you can’t even remember your manners?”

Pryderi called out, “Cigfa bring the robe.”

A woman’s voice rose over the din, “The robe, my lord?”

Pryderi snarled, “Yes, the robe. Bring it now or we will not be rid of it.”

Another man’s voice called out, “I thought you said this would bring the White Lady on her head and not this creature on ours.”

Essie growled, “Do it now, or I will ruin your secret place for ages to come. You know I can do it.”

“Aye, I know this. I didn’t think you would come.”

“Yet I am here, and waiting very impatiently.”

Here I give you a taste of Essie, the Aos Si. She holds real power in the world of the Fae. This is the theme, but not necessarily the plot of the novel. The point is again, here was have a Romantic character who is also a pathetic character. In Essie’s case, the pathos lasts for the entire novel. This is also the power of a pathetic character. I think these novels are compelling because of their protagonist. I hope they find a publisher for this same reason.

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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