Writing – part x463, Developing Skills, Telic Flaw, more Internal and External

8 July 2018, Writing – part x463, Developing Skills, Telic Flaw, more Internal and External

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’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.

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.

For novel 30:  Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

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         

Today:  Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.

To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first reading and then writing.  Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much.  I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.

Characters are the key to great writing.  Entertainment is the purpose of fiction writing.  The key to entertainment is character revelation, and specifically revelation of the plot and protagonist telic flaw (the same thing) .  If we want to be a successful writer, we must aim for great protagonists, and a great protagonist means a great or compelling telic flaw.

So what is a compelling telic flaw?  We need a direct and specific internal and external telic flaw.

Kind of back to the beginning.  Most adult novels have a protagonist with an internal and an external telic flaw.  The external telic flaw is the common type of telic flaw you find in any plot.  Remember, and never forget, the plot telic flaw is the protagonist’s telic flaw.  This must be the way it is.  For example, if the telic flaw is that the protagonist must become a football hero that is the plot’s telic flaw and the protagonist’s telic flaw.  This is also the external telic flaw.

In kid’s literature, it is sometimes enough for Johnny to join the football team and then assert himself as a football player.  He becomes the team hero and that’s it.

This isn’t the way the world or most literature works.  In most literature, Johnny must work his body, mind, and spirit to the bones to achieve the goal of football hero.  Usually to achieve this goal requires that Johnny give up something or assert something important.  The something important is mental and physical exertion and effort the protagonist must overcome to reach the goal.  This is the internal telic flaw.  This is the internal problem Johnny must resolve to reach the goal.  In a novel like this, the internal and the external telic flaws might be resolved at the same time or at different times.

For example, Johnny might be really lazy.  He might be a couch potato.  Johnny might need to get his life together and start to work hard to achieve his external goals.  The author would normally build up Johnny’s internal mental change as a gradual change.  The moment of truth comes about externally with Johnny’s great win at the end of the novel—in the climax.  The internal resolution might result there or earlier.  In any case, that’s the usual method.

I’ve mentioned it before, in a detective novel, the external telic flaw is usually the solution of the crime.  In most of these novels, the detective has some internal problem that interferes with the detective’s ability to solve the crime.  For example, the detective might have an alcohol problem.  The detective must go sober to solve the crime.  The detective might have a reoccurring problem with drink that prevents the resolution of the crime.  Additionally, the detective’s alcohol problem might be caused by something in his past…and so on.  This is what writing is all about.

A protagonist could also have an internal telic flaw which is the telic flaw of the plot.  This is really rare, and usually a difficult and not very entertaining type of novel.  When reviewers use the term psychological novel, they usually mean the protagonist has an internal telic flaw.  Most entertaining novels have both an internal and an external telic flaw, but some small number of internal type telic flaw psychological novels have a protagonist with just an internal telic flaw.

You can see where this isn’t very happy.  In a typical psychological novel, the protagonist resolved her problems and then escaped from some terrible level of physical abuse or captivity.  The external telic flaw is the escape.  In an internal telic flaw novel, the protagonist resolves her internal problem, and then what?  She doesn’t escape or resolve that part, so she is a happy captive in an insane asylum.  That’s why these novels aren’t usually very entertaining.

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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