Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x8, more Showing Tools in the Rising Action

9 April 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x8, more Showing Tools 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

Novels are all about showing the description, action, and conversation. However, the novelist also has some tools that the playwright doesn’t but the storyteller does. Some of these special tools involve a little telling. I’m not into telling, but I’ll give you the tools—use them wisely.

What is acceptable as a tool of the author? I advise and suggest, no telling, only showing. Here are some examples of what you might do:

Sorcha and Deirdre went to supper. They ate with the elder girls in the Fencing Club. Everyone was excited about the match on Sunday. Deirdre and Sorcha’s confidence improved significantly.

This is technically telling. For pacing and for obvious reasons, the author will want to provide a synopsis or summary of to move the story and plot forward. The author will not want or need to describe every action of the protagonist or any other character. One example or two of going to supper, breakfast, and dinner is quite enough. At the same time, you will want to inform your readers what your characters are doing. You just can’t leave them hanging. Tell them or show them when your characters go to dinner—especially when it is in the context of the plot or storyline. In this case, Sorcha and Deirdre are going to supper after hearing from Ms. Bolang. They passed an assignment that had been weighing on them. They also ate with the older girls from the Fencing Club—of all the girls, only Sorcha and Deirdre have been invited by the older fencers to supper. Each of the sentences are a summary of their actions. The final sentence is more than a summary tool. This sentence is real telling. It summarizes in an omniscient form the feelings of Sorcha and Deirdre. This is one of the author’s special tools.

In almost every novel, the author will want and need to summarize to move the plot. In many cases, there is no reason for the author not to also summarize the character’s feelings. You can go to far. For example, to write, their confidence improved significantly gives an uplift to the reader and builds a new feel into the next scene. A long explanation of one or both of the character’s feelings would not be appropriate at any time. Worse, a direct relating of the character’s feelings is right out. It is one thing to tell you their confidence is high—it is quite another to write: Deirdre felt an elation that filled her heart and mind with all kinds of happy thoughts. She thought Sorcha must be her best friend in the world, and their life was completely perfect. They were going to with that next competition. This is the silly kind of stuff one reads all the time from kid’s novels and inexperienced writers. To synopsize, summaries of events and of some general feelings is all right. Direct expressions of feelings and thoughts is not. These tools of summary are the kinds of tools authors have almost exclusively.

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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