Writing – part x585, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Standard English Conclusions

7 November 2018, Writing – part x585, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Standard English Conclusions

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment.  I’ll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher.  More information can be found atwww.ancientlight.com.  Check out my novels–I think you’ll really enjoy them.

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 withhttp://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.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

  1. 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)
  3. Research as required
  4. Develop the initial setting
  5. Develop the characters
  6. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  7. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  8. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  9. Write the climax scene
  10. Write the falling action scene(s)
  11. Write the dénouement scene

I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential titleBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.  The theme statement is: 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 cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30thnovel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 29th novel, working titleDetective.  I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.

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 30:  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 31:  TBD

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:  Suspension of disbelief is the characteristic of writing that pulls the reader into the world of the novel in such a way that the reader would rather face the world of the novel rather than the real world—at least while reading.  If this occurs while not reading, it is potentially a mental problem. To achieve the suspension of disbelief your writing has to meet some basic criteria and contain some strong inspiration.  If you want to call the inspiration creativity, that works too.  Here is a list of the basic criteria to hope to achieve some degree of suspension of disbelief.

  1. Reasonably written in standard English
  2. No glaring logical fallacies
  3. Reasoned worldview
  4. Creative and interesting topic
  5. A Plot
  6. Entertaining
  7. POV

Here is a list of these basic language factors (standard English) that might prevent suspension of disbelief:

  1. Vocabulary
  2. Grammar
  3. Dialog
  4. Language
  5. Idioms and dialects
  6. Understanding
  7. Terms
  8. Sounds like

Generally, we write about problems with your writing that might prevent suspension of disbelief.  The assumption is that you can write well enough to produce a work where suspension of disbelief is possible, and the problem is to keep the reader in that suspension of disbelief.

Language and understanding is perhaps the most important consideration for suspension of disbelief.  First for attaining and second for holding.  I think the holding is the greatest concern.  I have read some writing that could never cause the suspension of disbelief, but I have rarely seen that in professionally published novels.  I have seen it in self-published and in materials people have asked me to review.  In general, this is likely the highest criteria that any publisher is looking for—the suspension of disbelief.

If you can achieve this in your writing, the probability of publication is high.  If you can’t, the probability of publication is almost zero.  I must reiterate, fiction is about entertainment.  Entertainment is the suspension of disbelief.  In fact, we will look at this directly, but a reader might continue to read a novel they hate simply because the suspension of disbelief is powerful.

I personally have continued to read novels that did not appeal to me because the suspension of disbelief was so good.  However, as our list indicates above, the plot and the worldview do drive the suspension of disbelief.

In any case, the idea of standard English and every concept related to the idea of language, understanding, and the proper use of standard English, is the singular most common problem that drives the reader out of the suspension of disbelief.  If you can write well enough to develop the suspension of disbelief, you should beware of these problems.  In fact, these problems and especially vocabulary and lack of understanding are more problems of good writers than of poor writers.

Writers who are inexperienced or unskilled will tend to write with a more limited vocabulary and generally will not try to address super complex ideas.  Of course if they try, there might be a significant chance to cause misunderstanding or confusion.

The important point is to not cause these issues in your writing.  I’ve noted that these problems are potential characteristics of all writers.  Therefore, every writer should be cautious.  I know in my writing, I can easily deal in confusion.  In every one of my novels, my editor has asked questions that caused me to make changes to clarify things I thought were self-evident. This is why whenever I get feedback from any source, I will make changes to the passage, sentence, paragraph, or word in question.  Any direct feedback, even feedback you don’t agree with, should be addressed in some way.  This doesn’t mean you should necessarily always address indirect feedback.

What I mean by that is if a reader says, “Your novel sucks.”  That is not direct feedback.  It may sound direct, but it is simply useless.  On the other hand, if you get this: “I didn’t understand why Allison loved Roger,” or “The resolution of Allison with George didn’t seem realistic,” or “I didn’t think the anger of Allison against George was reasonable,” or “I couldn’t understand what you were trying to say about international banking.”  Any directed and obvious problem your readers give you, fix it.

We’ll move on to logical fallacies.

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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