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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 346, Unsaid Conversation Example

22 March 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 346, Unsaid 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  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

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 and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

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 sixteenth chapter right now.  That means I've written about 320 pages.

A very great 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.

Here is the example from my novel Valeska.  I'll use this as an example of conversation in a novel.  I've used this before to discuss conversation.  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.  The tone of the conversation.

Review the following conversation and try to identify the characteristics above in the development of the conversation.

The butler stepped to the side, “Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Long, may I present Mr. George Mardling and his niece Ms. Heidi Mardling.”

[Unsaid or unspoken: Heidi is a vampire; Sveta Long is a being who protects Britain from the evil supernatural; Daniel Long is the head of a British secret service organization; George works for Daniel and will soon work for Sveta.]

Mrs. Long stepped forward and put her hand out to Heidi.  She had a very bright smile on her face.  She took Heidi’s hand and her eyes went wide.  Heidi released her hand immediately.  Mrs. Long was breathless.  She stammered a little, “Good evening.  I’m Sveta Long.”

[Unspoken: Sveta touched Heidi and knows she is not an ordinary being--the same for Heidi.]

Heidi made a deep curtsy, “Thank you very much, Mrs. Long for inviting us to your party.”

[Unspoken: Heidi perfected her curtsy 200 years ago--it is perfect.]

Sveta reached out to Heidi again.  Heidi stepped back, but Sveta connected with Heidi’s shoulder.  Sveta froze, and her head came up.  She stammered again, “You are very welcome.  Make yourself comfortable in our home,” but her face clearly said exactly the opposite.

[Unspoken: Sveta wants to confirm her reaction.  Heidi doesn't want Sveta to confirm her reaction.  Animosity is about to take hold for this reason.]

Heidi glanced in Sveta’s eyes, then quickly turned her head away, “What I really need is a glass of sweet wine.”

[Unspoken: Heidi changes the subject with something she knows will irritate Sveta.  She knows Sveta suspects something, the best way out of a situation like this is to draw attention away from it and place it in another thing.]

Sveta looked like she was about to say something, but she lowered her head and stepped back.

[Unspoken: Sveta was about to confront Heidi about what she felt.  Heidi has already put up the distractor--anything now would just sound petulant.]

Heidi sighed.

Daniel’s lips twitched, “I’m not sure what is going on, exactly.”  He grabbed George’s hand and shook it, “Good to see you back in England, old man.”

[Unspoken: much is already unsaid in this conversation.  Daniel can't speak to George directly about their "work" even though everyone at the party knows kind of what they all do.]

George forced a smile, “I’m glad to be back.  I’m looking for a new assignment as soon as possible.”

Daniel clapped George on the shoulder, “I really hoped to keep you here in London for a while.  I have some new recruits and training for you to supervise.”

George grimaced, “Sounds long term.  I guess we’ll make do.”


“Heidi and I.”

Daniel frowned and put his head back, “Don’t tell me you are sharing your flat with this young woman.”

Heidi blinked, “I am happy to have a place to stay while I’m visiting in London.”

Sveta stepped forward, “No, you should stay here.  As I understand, the single flats the organization is assigning now are barely suitable for one—I can’t imagine a young woman having to put up with such close quarters…”

[Unspoken: Sveta wants to keep a close watch on Heidi--she is trying to set such a situation up.]

Heidi glared at Sveta, “I would feel completely out of place anywhere else.”

[Unspoken: because of Heidi's special "needs" such a surveillance would be unthinkable.]

Sveta glared back, “I insist.”

“I equally insist and respectfully decline—Mr. Mardling is my guardian.  It would be unthinkable for me to stay anywhere else.”

Sveta squinted her eyes at Heidi and Heidi squinted back at Sveta.

Daniel stepped between them, “Sveta, dear, I’m certain I can assign George a larger flat.”

Sveta let out her breath.  She visibly calmed, “Yes… I’m sure we can work things out.  Are you certain, Heidi, you don’t want to spend your time here until we can get George a larger place.”

Heidi didn’t back down.  She made a slicing motion with her hand, “I will not.”

Sveta forced a smile, “Very well.  But, I do think you are a bit young to drink wine.”

[Unspoken: here is the distractor Heidi introduced before.  She knew Sveta could not help but mention it later--Sveta is a bit of a prude.]

At that moment, a maid carrying a platter of filled wine glasses walked by.  Heidi gracefully plucked a glass off the platter.  She downed it in a swallow and turned Sveta a deep frown, “I do not like dry white wines.  Do you have something more acceptable to my palate?”

[Unspoken: this is a complete distractor well used by Heidi to turn Sveta's anger and suspicion from the supernatural to the natural.  She insults Sveta's choice of wine for the party.]

Sveta’s eyes bulged.  She took a step toward Heidi and appeared like she was about to leap.  Heidi crouched slightly.

[Unspoken: Sveta is now very angry at Heidi's direct insult.  She is still concerned about what she felt, but she can't speak of it unemotionally at this moment.  Heidi derailed any conversation about anything else and no conversation about the drink at the party is acceptable at the moment.]

Daniel grasped Sveta’s arm, and she came to herself.

[Unspoken: Daniel has no idea about the first reason for Sveta's anger--he understands insult, but he is too civilized to say anything about that.]

George raised his hands, “Heidi is much older than she looks.  We just came from Poland where there are no age limits for drinking alcohol.  She usually has a glass or two every evening.”

[Unspoken: George takes the bait too--he provides a reason for Heidi's improper behavior.]

Sveta squinted her eyes again, “I see.  Heidi,” she almost spat the name, “You may drink as much as you desire in my house.  Harold, please bring up a sweet German Riesling for Ms. Mardling.”

[Unspoken: Sveta plays along with the wine insult.  She intentionally draws attention away from the true subject of her interest.]

Heidi raised her head high, “An auslese, if you have it.”

[What else that is unspoken, but known by readers of my other novels is that Sveta's mother loved auslese (Sweet German Riesling) wines.]

Harold, the butler, bowed, “Yes, ma’am.”

Heidi glanced at Sveta from the sides of her eyes, “Thank you again for your hospitality.”

[Unspoken: this is an irony, but not much of one.  Sveta has shown hospitality--Heidi is complementing her.]

Now that you've seen the conversation, you can note. 
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.  The tone of the conversation.

We haven't even touched on tone and actual message--yet.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, and my individual novel websites:

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing,

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