Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 964, Publishing, Protagonists, Conclusions

24 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 964, Publishing, Protagonists, Conclusions

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 final novel of this series hasn’t been written yet. I’ll get to it. I’ll follow the same character development for that protagonist. I might as well mention the novel I’m currently writing. This novel is about a Soviet spy. She has to be a Romantic character because she is a competent spy. Not to say that all spies are a Romantic character, but rather that it is easy to make a spy an Romantic character—just look at James Bond. That is about as Romantic as you can get.

How can you make a Romantic spy character pathetic? It would be difficult if not impossible for James Bond. James is too much of an anti-pathos character. Any reader would have difficulty feeling sorry for James Bond. He is a pure hero type. He doesn’t care, so the reader doesn’t care. The pathetic or pathos building hero type is like Spiderman. Spiderman can’t ever seem to get ahead. DC tried to make Batman into this type of character and just created a Romantic Goth. Where Batman just seems creepy, Spiderman seems tragic.

They did make a tragic James Bond. If you remember the movie where he married a woman and she died. It didn’t work. People could not relate to James bond in pathos. James Bond is a character, like Superman, Batman, and most superheroes, who can’t be used to develop pathos. On the other hand, Spiderman can’t get a break. He is the feeling superhero and the kind of self-made superhero. His tragedies are seen as common tragedies, and he seems like a regular person. He is the Romantic character people want to be like and the pathetic character people want to hug.

Why is Spiderman so different than the others? The reason is that he seems human. Spiderman comes from a poor background. He was orphaned. Batman comes from a wealthy background. He was orphaned. Spiderman gained spider-like powers from a radioactive spider, but then he used his ingenuity to become Spiderman. Batman used his great wealth to become Batman. He is special because he made himself special.

The trick to pathos is to humanize and communize. Spiderman feels common, even though he isn’t. Spiderman feels very human in his appeal. Batman doesn’t feel common at all—he lives in the house on the hill outside of the realm of the regular person. Batman doesn’t seem human. Although he is probably the most human of all the superheroes, he doesn’t feel very human. So, how do you humanize a Romantic character?

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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