Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x4, Varying the Pacing in the Rising Action

5 April 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x4, Varying the Pacing in the Rising Action

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

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

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: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  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.

For novel 28: 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.

For novel 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre 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

How to vary the pacing. I have seen too fast of pacing—it seems to be a trend in certain types of novels. I haven’t seen too slow of pacing except in older novels. How do you vary pacing? The official, and I think wrong answer is through shorter action verbs and short sentences. I agree this is a method to vary the pacing in a scene, but most of the pacing problems I see are not just scene based—they are multi-scene based. In other words it isn’t the pacing in the action or the conversation of the scene, it is the pacing from scene to scene. I already wrote, and I’ll mention it again. Pacing is a problem of creative elements and tension and release in a scene.

I know it’s a little bit of a stretch, but if you think about it, the shorter sentences in action and conversation to increase the pace of action and conversation is similar to the tension and release cycle. I’ll go for this, but remember, I don’t think pacing in the action and conversation is the problem. Where I notice too fast of pacing is when the author give me an incomplete release to the tension and goes on to the next scene without cleaning up everything. Too slow of pacing occurs when the author either gives me too much description in the conversation or the action or beats the release like a dead horse. I already told you, I haven’t really seen a novel with too slow of pacing for a while—it’s mostly the Victorian era that bred them. You could experience one in the modern era, but I think that it would seem boring. I assure you there won’t be too much description—that’s not a modern problem. There is never enough description in most novels today. The problem will be that the authors makes a release that continues too long or a tension that has no release at all and moves on to the next scene.

That’s one I just thought of. I think an insufficient release is a characteristic of too fast a pacing. No release or too much of a release could be the characteristic of too slow of pacing. For example, I’ve read boring novels that seem to go on and on and on. They aren’t paced too quickly, they just drone on and on about some issue or idea without completing the issue or idea. Where too fast a pacing frustrates the reader by moving without completing a tension, the too slow paced novel never completes the idea, or it beats you over the head with it. I don’t have a problem with the author explaining a complex idea through the characters, I do have a problem with the author beating a conclusion to a pulp. I wish I had good examples of these bad styles of writing. I try not to write this way. I’ll think of something…

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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