Writing – part x342, Novel Form, Secrets in Novels, The Fox’s Honor

9 March 2018, Writing – part x342, Novel Form, Secrets in Novels, The Fox’s Honor

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. I’ll be providing information on the marketing materials and editing.

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 29: 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.

This is the classical form for writing a successful 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 (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)
    4. Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (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

The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together. The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw. They are inseparable. This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel.

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

  1. The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  2. The Rising action scenes
  3. The Climax scene
  4. The Falling action scene(s)
  5. The Dénouement scene

So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene? Let’s start from a theme statement. Here is an example from my latest novel:

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: 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.

Here is the scene development outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene.  I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in your scenes.

The release part of the scene development cycle is similar to a punchline.  This is the point at which the tension of the scene is released.  The complete tension is never released until the climax of the novel, but the tension of the scene is released to some degree at this point.

I’m still addressing conflict and release from the standpoint of scenes, but I thought it might provide a good example to look at secrets in my novels.  If you remember, there are two basic types of secrets in a novel.  The first is the plot revelation.  The revelation of the plot and the protagonist are secrets until they are revealed in the novel.  This is the number one basic element of secret in a novel.  This secret is unknown to the characters and the readers until it is revealed.

The second type of secret are the secrets of the protagonist or other major character.  These are secrets known to the readers, but not known to other characters in the context of the novel.  These are revealed (or not revealed) through the plot.  I write not reveled because these secrets may remain secrets from no one, a few, or all in the context of a novel.  The writer uses the revelation of these secrets to create tension and release and to drive to the climax.

I’ll write a little about my science fiction novels.  I write science fiction that is set in the far future.  I have a series that is in publication called The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox.  This isn’t a trilogy, but a set of series novels.  What this means is that you can read the novels separately without the others.  You can also read them together because they share characters and events.  The second novel is The Fox’s Honor.

The background for these novels is that to conquer the planets in other solar systems, early explorers and colonists were genetically enhanced for specific fields.  One of those fields was leadership.  Due to genetic capability, the culture and society of the galaxy developed into a feudal style government loosely based on the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture.

Thus the Human Galactic Empire was stable because the leaders were truly capable and designed to lead specific planets and people.  The novels cover a problem in the leadership of the Human Galactic Empire caused by fighting in the Imperial Family.

The Fox’s Honor focuses on Prince Devon Rathenberg, the Emperor’s Fox.  Devon is the chief of intelligence for the Human Galactic Empire.  He basically runs the spy networks for the Emperor.  For all his skill and bravado, he doesn’t understand women very well.  The Empire has been facing external and internal problems–basically wars on the fringe colonies and internal attacks.  These may both have the same origination.  Devon has a plan that is intended to reveal the Emperor’s enemies in the Ducal Houses of the Empire.  The unfortunate part of the plan is that Devon must die for it to succeed.  The state of the Empire is at such a level of risk that the Emperor allows Devon to accomplish his plan, but there is another problem.

Devon fell in love with a school girl who was presented to the Imperial Court.  She is a dangerous, beautiful, and feisty woman named Lady Tamar Falkeep.  Devon intends to declare his love to Lady Tamar and then die in a duel.  That is his plan, but Lady Tamar doesn’t let him die–Devon gets his duel and loses it, but the Lady brings him back from the edge of death.

Now the full force of the secrets in the novel really begin.  Devon expected to die, and he pledged his love to a woman he would never normally be allowed to marry.  The Lady Tamar realizes this.  In any case, they embark on a clandestine marriage, and Devon starts on a clandestine mission to win back his honor.  The great character secrets in the novel are just who Devon Rathenberg is, his marriage with the Lady Tamar, and the mission he is on.

The plot secret in the novel is the outcome of the war between the Rebelling Houses and the Loyalist Houses.  The war that began in The End of Honor was initiated by Devon’s plan.  The problem was that the puppet master pulling the strings at the fringe and in the Empire was the Emperor’s first son Perod-Mark.  Perod murders his father and bans the Houses that supported his younger brother, John-Mark.  To bring peace back to the Empire, John-Mark can no longer be a leader, and the Prince Devon Rathenberg is the next in line for the throne.

Thus, Devon Rathenberg is cast into a role of peacemaker and pawn as well as pulling together his intelligence forces.  The big question is this, what will the leaders of the Houses think when they find the Prince regent has espoused the Lady Tamar as his wife.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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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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