Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 967, Publishing, Protagonists, Conclusions, The Problem with Superheroes

27 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 967, Publishing, Protagonists, Conclusions, The Problem with Superheroes

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?


An author has multiple problems with superheroes. The primary problem is where the telic flaw and the climax of most superheroes resolves. A superhero is about saving the world. There wouldn’t be a problem if the superhero would just save individuals, but that is much too mundane. Superheroes begat super events which leads to the end of the world—unless the superhero has their way. Take for example Harry Potty. Harry is a god or superhero—take your pick. His telic flaw is that he has a horrific villain who has killed his family and who has tried to kill him, still trying to kill him. Ultimately, if Harry Potty doesn’t succeed, the world, as the magic users know it, will be destroyed and all the good magic users will be dead. I don’t like the world of Harry Potty, and I don’t like the character of Harry Potty. He is too perfect and there is too much deus ex machina everywhere. Ultimately, he is a god or a superhero. His telic flaw drives the climax and the climax is to save the world—kill the villain. If you like these types of bloodthirsty plots, go for it. I think it is unrefined and vulgar, but my novels haven’t sold a million copies.


This is how I recommend you develop your Romantic characters. My protagonists do tend to be goddesses, demi-goddesses, supernatural beings, and etc. What separates them from superheroes is that their telic flaw tends to be something within themselves or directly related to their families. They are not super-powered. They have human failings and traits. They are more vulnerable than most human beings. For example, Leroa can’t handle places where there isn’t much sunlight. She can’t live in the environs of Northern Europe without falling ill. She has powers within human comprehension, but they are powers related to being a goddess of light. She can control light to a degree. She doesn’t and can’t use her powers to save the world. She is lucky to save her family and those she loves. This is not a superhero, this is a human hero. As I noted, you can take Romantic characters of great power and make them human and real.

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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