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Monday, March 30, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 354, more Transition to the Rising Action

30 March 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 354, more Transition to the Rising Action

Announcement: My new novels should be available from any webseller or can be ordered from any brick and mortar bookstore.  Information can be found at www.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 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

The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.

Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action.  I'm writing about the transition from the initial scene to the rising action of my newest novel, "Escape."  Escape is the working title.  I'll decide on the actual proposed title when I finish the novel.  I'm at the eighteenth chapter right now.  That means I've written about 360 pages.

Let's review my guidelines for conversation.

1.  Cultural norms (greeting, introduction, small talk, big talk)
2.  Logical response (characters must respond to each other in the conversation)
3.  ID the speaker
4.  Show us the picture of the conversation
5.  Use contractions (most of the time)
6.  What are you trying to say?
7.  What is unsaid in the conversation?
8.  Build the tone of the conversation.
9.  Show don't tell.
10.  Keep proper names to a minimum.

I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel.  I'll describe this technique (and style) again if you are new to my blog or you missed it before. 

Every scene has an input and an output.  The input of the initial scene is not material to understanding the scene.  In other words, the author begins writing without a previous input to the scene.  The presumed input is everything that happened prior to the scene.  For example, and this is a very specific example, in Escape, the presumed input is that Reb (the protagonist) was born, raised, and lived as a Citizen on the island of Freedom.  Also, Scott was born, raised, and lived as a citizen of New Greece and flies shuttles.  She (Reb) is walking home, and Scott is flying over Reb's island.  This is all input, and only a tiny piece of the input.  The novel begins with this presumed input.

In the initial scene, we get scene setting for Reb and scene setting for Scott.  Reb is walking home, and Scott is flying a cargo shuttle over Freedom.  She is watching the shuttle.  The engine fails, and Scott makes an emergency landing on Freedom.  Reb happens to be there.  She agrees to help him if he will help her escape Freedom.  The output of the scene is that Reb leads Scott away from his shuttle to safety.  Now, this must be very clear--the author does not provide much of (if any) of the presumed input to the initial scene.  Any previous information is part of the revelation of the characters in the novel.  However, from now on, the author's job is to show the revelation of the plot and the characters.  This is the main job of the author.  So, with the output that Reb is leading Scott away from the cargo shuttle and the people of Freedom who might hurt or help him, we advance the plot to the next scene.

The input for the next scene is Reb leading Scott away to a place of safety.             

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,

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 353, Transition to the Rising Action

29 March 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 353, Transition to the Rising Action

Announcement: My new novels should be available from any webseller or can be ordered from any brick and mortar bookstore.  Information can be found at www.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 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

The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.

Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action.  I'm writing about the transition from the initial scene to the rising action of my newest novel, "Escape."  Escape is the working title.  I'll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel.  I'm at the eighteenth chapter right now.  That means I've written about 360 pages.

Let's review my guidelines for conversation.

1.  Cultural norms (greeting, introduction, small talk, big talk)
2.  Logical response (characters must respond to each other in the conversation)
3.  ID the speaker
4.  Show us the picture of the conversation
5.  Use contractions (most of the time)
6.  What are you trying to say?
7.  What is unsaid in the conversation?
8.  Build the tone of the conversation.
9.  Show don't tell.
10.  Keep proper names to a minimum.

I left up the rules for writing good conversation just as a reminder, but I'm moving on to the transition from the initial scene to the rising action.  Most of any novel is in the rising action.  Although the initial scene gets my blood moving, the rising action is the part of the novel I absolutely love.  The initial scene just is, the climax is the culmination of everything, but the rising action is the setup for the climax.  The rising action is where the author places the puzzle pieces that at the climax form the Davinci.  The rising action is where the reader gets to know and love the protagonist and the protagonist's helper.  The rising action is where the reader feels the pain, suffering, and success of the characters.  The rising action is the journey while the climax is the end of the journey.

A journey implies you have a destination (the climax), a beginning (the initial scene), and a plan to get from the beginning to the destination.  Since I write in scenes, my plan is to write scenes that move my characters from the initial scene to the climax.  I directly manage this through scene input to scene output.  My plans are very general.  Let's specifically discuss Escape.  The initial scene is the force landing on the island and the meeting of Rebeca and Scott Phillips.  The climax is their escape (or grand failure).  At the climax, they could both escape, both die trying, one or the other die, or be captured and tortured by the Party.  There are many options.  The point is to move the ball from the initial scene to the climax.         

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,

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 352, Another Rule Conversation

28 March 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 352, Another Rule Conversation

Announcement: My new novels should be available from any webseller or can be ordered from any brick and mortar bookstore.  Information can be found at www.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 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

The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.

Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene.  I'm writing about the initial scene of my newest novel, "Escape."  Escape is the working title.  I'll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel.  I'm at the seventeenth chapter right now.  That means I've written about 340 pages.

A huge problem for many inexperienced writers is conversation.  They believe their writing of conversation sounds trite and forced.  They want to know the tricks to writing good conversation.  This is a great aspiration and an important skill.  My novels are about 90% conversation.  I love to write conversation, and I see it as the major tool of the novelist.  I'll spend some time defining what makes good written conversation in a novel, and how to write it.

Let's review my guidelines for conversation.

1.  Cultural norms (greeting, introduction, small talk, big talk)
2.  Logical response (characters must respond to each other in the conversation)
3.  ID the speaker
4.  Show us the picture of the conversation
5.  Use contractions (most of the time)
6.  What are you trying to say?
7.  What is unsaid in the conversation?
8.  Build the tone of the conversation.
9.  Show don't tell.
10.  Keep proper names to a minimum.

10.  Keep proper names to a minimum.  Here is anew rule I just remembered.  Hard to put together all the rules (guidelines) you've learned through the years.  When you use a proper name in conversation, you should only use it when necessary to emphasize a point or when you are making a direct address (calling out to a person).

I don't have an example from my writing because that would be a bad example, so I'll make up some.
 
Bob called out, "Hi Jack."
 
[Reasonable use here because Bob is making a direct address to Jack and gaining his attention.]
 
"Morning, Bob," Jack shook his hand.
 
[Okay use here and necessary as a direct address and an introduction (greeting).  From this point on, we don't use a proper name in the conversation unless we bring in another person, or we need a direct address for emphasis.]
 
Bob glanced at his feet, "Sorry you lost your job..."
Jack grimaced, "Thanks."
"Well it was a bad time for the bottom to fall out of the market."
"You're telling me."
"Hey, why don't you try old Havershall's.  I heard he needs buggy whip makers."
Jack tucked his hands in his pockets, "What I really need, Bob, is for people to stop buying motor cars."
Bob glanced back at his shiny new model A.  He whistled, "Yeah, I guess."  
 
Quick conversation example that follows the rules (guidelines).  See, there is the use of proper names in the introductions.  There is the use of a proper name as a point of emphasis.  Otherwise, there is no need to include a proper name.  Here is a negative example.
 
Bob called out, "Hi Jack."
"Morning, Bob," Jack shook his hand.
Bob glanced at his feet, "Sorry you lost your job, Jack."
Jack grimaced, "Thanks, Bob."
"Well, Jack, it was a bad time for the bottom to fall out of the market."
"You're telling me, Bob."
"Hey, Jack, why don't you try old Havershall's.  I heard he needs buggy whip makers."
Jack tucked his hands in his pockets, "What I really need, Bob, is for people to stop buying motor cars."
Bob glanced back at his shiny new model A.  He whistled, "Yeah, Jack I guess."  
 
    
Notice how choppy and contrived the second example is.  The first flows naturally--the second just doesn't sound right.  There is nothing wrong with it, but people don't converse that way at all.  In fact, except for introductions, and sometimes introductions too, people in real life frequently never use a proper name during any conversation.  The use of proper names is an odd occurrence in any conversation in real life--therefore, the use of proper names in conversation feels out of place in a novel.  However, it is not unusual to see conversations like example two in new writer's novels and short stories. 

Plus, I want you to note something else.  Reread the first and second example and notice the second has lost all its rhythm.  The feel of the first is good, it's almost like a punch line.  The second just peters off like a good joke told poorly.  The proper name use throw off the tone of the conversation.  

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,

Friday, March 27, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 351, breakdown Confession Conversation Example

27 March 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 351, breakdown Confession Conversation Example

Announcement: My new novels should be available from any webseller or can be ordered from any brick and mortar bookstore.  Information can be found at www.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 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

The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.

Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene.  I'm writing about the initial scene of my newest novel, "Escape."  Escape is the working title.  I'll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel.  I'm at the seventeenth chapter right now.  That means I've written about 340 pages.

A huge problem for many inexperienced writers is conversation.  They believe their writing of conversation sounds trite and forced.  They want to know the tricks to writing good conversation.  This is a great aspiration and an important skill.  My novels are about 90% conversation.  I love to write conversation, and I see it as the major tool of the novelist.  I'll spend some time defining what makes good written conversation in a novel, and how to write it.

Let's review my guidelines for conversation.

1.  Cultural norms (greeting, introduction, small talk, big talk)
2.  Logical response (characters must respond to each other in the conversation)
3.  ID the speaker
4.  Show us the picture of the conversation
5.  Use contractions (most of the time)
6.  What are you trying to say?
7.  What is unsaid in the conversation?
8.  Build the tone of the conversation.
9.  Show don't tell.

One of the greatest tricks an author has is the ability to bring characters to a point of revelation through conversation.  In other words, to a point where characters can potentially reveal information about themselves.  I write "potentially" because in any great novel, the truthfulness of the revelation is always in question.  The author usually provides means to evaluate truth in the context of the conversation or confession.  The example of the confessional conversation below, is the result of more than 200 pages of development.  It comes from my, as yet, unpublished Ancient Light novel Warrior of Darkness.  I'll give you a context of truth in the conversation.

Niul was very agitated when he picked up Klava at the Lyon’s house the next Sunday.  Instead of heading directly for Westminster, he turned off into Saint James Park and stopped the car.

Klava’s voice trembled, “What’s wrong Niul?”

“You and I need to speak about something.”

Klava covered her face with her hands, “What other sins have caught up with me?”

Niul stepped out of the car and went to her side.  He opened the door and put out his hand, “No sins just something I need to know.”

Scáth scowled as she slid out of the car, “What else do you need to know about her, Mr. O’Dwyer?  You’ve already taken an unfair share.”

[The readers know Scáth is an undead being who serves Klava.  Klava made her in a fit of despair.  Scáth acts as a protector and conscience for Klava.]

Niul clasped Klava’s hand.  She did not stop trembling.  Niul led her down the walk.  The day was dreary with early fog and cloudy skies.  Scáth trailed them at a pace behind.  Niul took Klava’s hand in both of his.  He caressed it and took a deep breath, “Klava are you blind?”

Scáth’s voice was tense, “Does she act blind?”

“Yes, in many ways, she does.”

Scáth nearly spat, “Mistress, you don’t have to tell him.”

Klava smiled.  She still trembled, “No, Scáth, I must tell him.  He has a right to ask.  It is one of my defects that is not readily apparent.”  Klava pulled up short.  She turned Niul to face her.  Her deep emerald eyes sought his and were slightly off queue.  They stared obviously unfocused at his cheek.”

“You are blind.”

“Who told you?”

“The Dean of the department mentioned that you were the most accomplished student he ever taught, and related his astonishment that you couldn’t see.  You are blind.”

“Yes I am.  I have been blind since I was a child.  Is this a defect that makes me unacceptable to you?”

[The readers have known Klava was bind since the beginning of the novel.  This fact isn't very apparent.]

“No it doesn’t at all.  It just makes me more ashamed, and me, more unacceptable.”

“More ashamed, Niul O’Dwyer.  How could that make you more ashamed?”

“I took advantage of a blind girl.  A person who was handicapped.  What kind of monster does that make me?”

Scáth laughed, “One much worse than I.”

Klava put her arms around him, “I don’t think it makes much difference.  We all are handicapped in some way.  Most of us just don’t acknowledge our deficiencies, or we exaggerate things that are not deficiencies to hide our true faults—like sin.”

“But you are blind.”

Klava sighed, “And that makes you want to turn away from me?”

“No it makes me want to protect you even more.”

“You pity me?”

“Yes.  I do pity you.”

“That is not a foundation on which to build affection.”

“Nah, there you are very wrong, Klava.  If love is a commitment, then a person who loves must commit to everything for the one he loves.  Pity is a feeling that makes me want to never let you be away from me—I’d gladly be your eyes.  As it is, I’m not sure how you manage as well as you do.”

[This is a statement of one of the main themes of this novel--love is not a feeling; love is an action.  A confessional conversation allows the author to place statements like this in the mouths of his characters.]

“I manage because I see through the black tablet.”

[This is a great secret of Klava's that is only hinted at in the novel--finally stated here.]

“A black tablet, what is that?”

“The black tablet.  My black tablet.”

“Still, what is that, Lamb?”

Klava opened her purse and took out the tablet.  Niul reached for it.  Klava jerked it away from him, “Don’t touch it.”

“Why’s that?”

“If you touch it, it will take your ka.  It will pull your ka into the tablet.”

“Why can you touch it?”

Scáth sneered, “Duh!  She’s the goddess who controls it.”

[This is also a secret that has been shared before.  Niul knows this already.]

Niul moved his head to get a better look at the tablet, “It bears your face.  What can it do?  Is it the source of your power?”

Klava held the tablet close to her, “The Dagda is the source of my power.  The tablet allows me to manipulate the forces of the world and the kas of men.  With it, I can control darkness and use darkness.”

[This is known to the reader, but not to Niul.]

“And it allows you to see?”

“I can’t see real colors.  Everything is like black and gold to me.  They are all shades of black and gold.  It is very lovely to my sight, but there is no color.”
     “Is that why you only wear black?”

She blushed, “Yes, every other color makes me appear underclothed.  The tablet allows me to see in a region that is near infrared.  My body shows through anything but black.  Grays, in my sight, are scandalous, but usually not too overexposed.”  Klava tossed her head, “I also dress this way to irritate my mothers—both of them.  I like to remind them that I am not my sister, and I am not like them.  I am who I am, and who the Dagda has made me to be.”

[The reader didn't know this.]

“And what you eat?”

“Dark foods appear unappealing to me.  White ones are like gold.  They are radiant.”

[Nor this]

“What you drink?”

“I can’t see light liquids very well in a glass or cup.  I make a mess.  I can manage drinks that are black—I have come to enjoy them very much.”

[Nor this]

“You usually wear dark glasses during the day.  What about liking the night and darkness?”

“In daylight everything appears too bright to me.  I can’t see details.  At night and in darkness everything is clear.”  She shrugged, “I can see much better.”

[Nor this]

Niul laughed, “Here, they all think you have a character flaw, and you simply are trying to live life on your own terms.”

[Again, here, I can make a statement through the words of my character about Klava.  This kind of statement would be otherwise impossible.]

“Niul this is a secret.  It is my secret.  Scáth knows it, but few others.  I told you because you guessed and you asked.  No one else has ever cared enough to ask.”

[The fact that this is a secret can only be shared in the context of this type of intimate conversation.]

“The smoking?”

Klava laughed, “That is just a bad habit.  I am not pure as you think.”

Niul clasped her to his chest.  He put his face in her thick hair, “Please, Klava, it is justice when you remind me of what I did to you, but it only makes me sad.  If there is any lack of purity in you, that was my doing.  You are perfect.  You are precious…”

“I am neither, and I didn’t mean to remind you.”

“But you should, all the time.”
He reluctantly released her.  Klava didn’t step back.  She reached up to his eyes and wiped them with her fingertips.  “If we hurry, Niul, we can make Communion.”

[Here is another "showing" trick.  Instead of telling you Niul is tearing up (I would not want to even state my hero male protagonist's helper is crying, I show you a picture.  Klava wipes his eyes with her fingertips.  With this picture, I can relate the strength of Niul's feelings and Klava's tenderness in a very simple description, but without telling you anything.]

Here's the point.  Novels are all about "revealing" the characters of the novel.  The most powerful way to reveal a character is to allow them to give their own story.  This is a confessional conversation or a confessional moment.  Since novels don't really have a soliloquy mode, like a play, it does no good for the character to tell us her story (not unless you want to use omniscient voice--yuck).  You want to manipulate the characters into a point where they can share their most private thoughts.  One of the best ways to do this is through the "lovers" conversation.  Klava and Niul have all kinds of lover's conversation through this novel.  However, remember this, even lovers don't share everything.      

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,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 350, Confession Conversation Example

26 March 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 350, Confession Conversation Example

Announcement: My new novels should be available from any webseller or can be ordered from any brick and mortar bookstore.  Information can be found at www.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 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

The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.

Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene.  I'm writing about the initial scene of my newest novel, "Escape."  Escape is the working title.  I'll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel.  I'm at the seventeenth chapter right now.  That means I've written about 340 pages.

A huge problem for many inexperienced writers is conversation.  They believe their writing of conversation sounds trite and forced.  They want to know the tricks to writing good conversation.  This is a great aspiration and an important skill.  My novels are about 90% conversation.  I love to write conversation, and I see it as the major tool of the novelist.  I'll spend some time defining what makes good written conversation in a novel, and how to write it.

Let's review my guidelines for conversation.

1.  Cultural norms (greeting, introduction, small talk, big talk)
2.  Logical response (characters must respond to each other in the conversation)
3.  ID the speaker
4.  Show us the picture of the conversation
5.  Use contractions (most of the time)
6.  What are you trying to say?
7.  What is unsaid in the conversation?
8.  Build the tone of the conversation.
9.  Show don't tell.

I promised to show you a "confessional" conversation.  This is a conversation between two people in which secrets are truly shared.  This conversation is a compilation point in my unpublished novel Warrior of Darkness.  This is the last of the official Ancient Light novels.  Perhaps there is no need for explanation at this point.  I will tell you I haven't shared this before except with my prepubreaders and my publisher.  

Niul was very agitated when he picked up Klava at the Lyon’s house the next Sunday.  Instead of heading directly for Westminster, he turned off into Saint James Park and stopped the car.

Klava’s voice trembled, “What’s wrong Niul?”

“You and I need to speak about something.”

Klava covered her face with her hands, “What other sins have caught up with me?”

Niul stepped out of the car and went to her side.  He opened the door and put out his hand, “No sins just something I need to know.”

Scáth scowled as she slid out of the car, “What else do you need to know about her, Mr. O’Dwyer?  You’ve already taken an unfair share.”

Niul clasped Klava’s hand.  She did not stop trembling.  Niul led her down the walk.  The day was dreary with early fog and cloudy skies.  Scáth trailed them at a pace behind.  Niul took Klava’s hand in both of his.  He caressed it and took a deep breath, “Klava are you blind?”

Scáth’s voice was tense, “Does she act blind?”

“Yes, in many ways, she does.”

Scáth nearly spat, “Mistress, you don’t have to tell him.”

Klava smiled.  She still trembled, “No, Scáth, I must tell him.  He has a right to ask.  It is one of my defects that is not readily apparent.”  Klava pulled up short.  She turned Niul to face her.  Her deep emerald eyes sought his and were slightly off queue.  They stared obviously unfocused at his cheek.”

“You are blind.”

“Who told you?”

“The Dean of the department mentioned that you were the most accomplished student he ever taught, and related his astonishment that you couldn’t see.  You are blind.”

“Yes I am.  I have been blind since I was a child.  Is this a defect that makes me unacceptable to you?”

“No it doesn’t at all.  It just makes me more ashamed, and me, more unacceptable.”

“More ashamed, Niul O’Dwyer.  How could that make you more ashamed?”

“I took advantage of a blind girl.  A person who was handicapped.  What kind of monster does that make me?”

Scáth laughed, “One much worse than I.”

Klava put her arms around him, “I don’t think it makes much difference.  We all are handicapped in some way.  Most of us just don’t acknowledge our deficiencies, or we exaggerate things that are not deficiencies to hide our true faults—like sin.”

“But you are blind.”

Klava sighed, “And that makes you want to turn away from me?”

“No it makes me want to protect you even more.”

“You pity me?”

“Yes.  I do pity you.”

“That is not a foundation on which to build affection.”

“Nah, there you are very wrong, Klava.  If love is a commitment, then a person who loves must commit to everything for the one he loves.  Pity is a feeling that makes me want to never let you be away from me—I’d gladly be your eyes.  As it is, I’m not sure how you manage as well as you do.”

“I manage because I see through the black tablet.”

“A black tablet, what is that?”

“The black tablet.  My black tablet.”

“Still, what is that, Lamb?”

Klava opened her purse and took out the tablet.  Niul reached for it.  Klava jerked it away from him, “Don’t touch it.”

“Why’s that?”

“If you touch it, it will take your ka.  It will pull your ka into the tablet.”

“Why can you touch it?”

Scáth sneered, “Duh!  She’s the goddess who controls it.”

Niul moved his head to get a better look at the tablet, “It bears your face.  What can it do?  Is it the source of your power?”

Klava held the tablet close to her, “The Dagda is the source of my power.  The tablet allows me to manipulate the forces of the world and the kas of men.  With it, I can control darkness and use darkness.”

“And it allows you to see?”

“I can’t see real colors.  Everything is like black and gold to me.  They are all shades of black and gold.  It is very lovely to my sight, but there is no color.”
     “Is that why you only wear black?”

She blushed, “Yes, every other color makes me appear underclothed.  The tablet allows me to see in a region that is near infrared.  My body shows through anything but black.  Grays, in my sight, are scandalous, but usually not too overexposed.”  Klava tossed her head, “I also dress this way to irritate my mothers—both of them.  I like to remind them that I am not my sister, and I am not like them.  I am who I am, and who the Dagda has made me to be.”

“And what you eat?”

“Dark foods appear unappealing to me.  White ones are like gold.  They are radiant.”

“What you drink?”

“I can’t see light liquids very well in a glass or cup.  I make a mess.  I can manage drinks that are black—I have come to enjoy them very much.”

“You usually wear dark glasses during the day.  What about liking the night and darkness?”

“In daylight everything appears too bright to me.  I can’t see details.  At night and in darkness everything is clear.”  She shrugged, “I can see much better.”

Niul laughed, “Here, they all think you have a character flaw, and you simply are trying to live life on your own terms.”

“Niul this is a secret.  It is my secret.  Scáth knows it, but few others.  I told you because you guessed and you asked.  No one else has ever cared enough to ask.”

“The smoking?”

Klava laughed, “That is just a bad habit.  I am not pure as you think.”

Niul clasped her to his chest.  He put his face in her thick hair, “Please, Klava, it is justice when you remind me of what I did to you, but it only makes me sad.  If there is any lack of purity in you, that was my doing.  You are perfect.  You are precious…”

“I am neither, and I didn’t mean to remind you.”

“But you should, all the time.”
He reluctantly released her.  Klava didn’t step back.  She reached up to his eyes and wiped them with her fingertips.  “If we hurry, Niul, we can make Communion.”

I'll pull this conversation apart a little for you in the coming days, but I wanted you to get it whole.  This is a very personal conversation where secrets are shared.  These are not things the reader knew before.  Many of them might have been surmised from the novel, but most of them could not.  The fact Klava is blind, is known from the beginning--how she reflects her blindness in her life is not known, but seen.  This is a point that can't really be understood without either telling or through conversation.  I don't like to tell--I like to show.  Klava drinks dark drinks and eats light food not because of preference, but because they look good to her.  In the book, Klava drinks dark Irish beer and dark coffee almost exclusively.  The reason she does is not known until this point.  

This is the trick about confessional conversations--they allow the author to give great secrets that can't be shown either at all or easily.  Plus, conversation, like this, is absolutely intimate.  The fact that Scáth is present during a very private conversation should peak your interest in just who and what Scáth is.    

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,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 349, Purpose for Tone Conversation Example

25 March 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 349, Purpose for Tone Conversation Example

Announcement: My new novels should be available from any webseller or can be ordered from any brick and mortar bookstore.  Information can be found at www.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 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

The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.

Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene.  I'm writing about the initial scene of my newest novel, "Escape."  Escape is the working title.  I'll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel.  I'm at the seventeenth chapter right now.  That means I've written about 340 pages.

A huge problem for many inexperienced writers is conversation.  They believe their writing of conversation sounds trite and forced.  They want to know the tricks to writing good conversation.  This is a great aspiration and an important skill.  My novels are about 90% conversation.  I love to write conversation, and I see it as the major tool of the novelist.  I'll spend some time defining what makes good written conversation in a novel, and how to write it.

Let's review my guidelines for conversation.

1.  Cultural norms (greeting, introduction, small talk, big talk)
2.  Logical response (characters must respond to each other in the conversation)
3.  ID the speaker
4.  Show us the picture of the conversation
5.  Use contractions (most of the time)
6.  What are you trying to say?
7.  What is unsaid in the conversation?
8.  Build the tone of the conversation.
9.  Show don't tell.

You might ask, what does it mean to show a conversation.  Remember about showing in writing.  Don't tell us how a character feels--show us how they feel.  Don't tell us what a character is thinking--show us what they are thinking.  In a situation of trust, don't tell us what a character thinks or knows--let the character tell us. 

Conversation is a super effective means of communicating the mind and heart of your character.  For example, a protagonist can tell the protagonist's helper that he loves her.  Likewise, he can show her.  Likewise, the writer can show the love in conversation without a confession at all.  The power of conversation is what can be said and what is never said.

This is generally what I've called tone.  The tone of the conversation can convey everything that is unsaid in the conversation.  This was the point of the examples yesterday and the day before.  In that conversation, I delineated for you what was unsaid and how the tone was developed.  I have half a mind to give you a confessional conversation--watch for it.

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,