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Monday, October 19, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 557, Words Best Not Employed Q and A

19 October 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 557, Words Best Not Employed Q and A

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy.  I'll keep you informed.  More 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 26th novel, working title, Shape, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Escape from FreedomEscape is my 25th 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 on my first editing run-through of Shape.

I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel. 

Scene development:

1.  Scene input (easy)

2.  Scene output (a little harder)

3.  Scene setting (basic stuff)

4.  Creativity (creative elements of the scene)

5.  Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)

6.  Release (climax of creative elements)

I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:

1.  History extrapolation

2.  Technological extrapolation

3.  Intellectual extrapolation

Creativity is like an extrapolation of what has been.  It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect).  Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing. 

One of my blog readers posed these questions.  I'll use the next few weeks to answer them.

1.  Conflict/tension between characters

2.  Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)

3.  Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme

4.  Evolving vs static character

5.  Language and style

6.  Verbal, gesture, action

7.  Words employed

8.  Sentence length

9.  Complexity

10.  Type of grammar

11.  Diction

12.  Field of reference or allusion

13.  Tone - how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.

14.  Mannerism suggest by speech

15.  Style

16.  Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter's style includes gaps, silences, non-sequitors, and fragments while Chekhov's includes 'apparent' inconclusiveness).

Moving on to 7. 7.  Words employed

The list is gone.  I’d would be nice to keep it up and add to it as I thought of more classics.  I want to give you more ideas about the employment of words or the right word for the moment, but I’m going to come from a different point of view for a moment.  Let’s look at words not to use.  Here’s the list:




These are words you want to reduce in your writing.  The three primary that you will never get rid of completely, but you will want to reduce as much as possible are had, was, and were.  At the very least, the author should review each use of these words in his writing and remove or change as much as possible.


Stay in the past tense.  Movement into the perfect tense makes tedious reading.  If you must introduce an idea in the past shift to the perfect tense for only a couple of sentences to introduce time sequence, then transition back to the past tense.  In some cases, had makes sense and should not be replaced, but in many, if not most cases, it should be dropped for the past tense. 

Otherwise, for non-perfect tense, the use of the word "had" can be easily replaced with much stronger and direct verbs.

He had a cat. 

(can be changed to)

He owned a cat.

He possessed a cat.

He loved his cat.

were and was

Same problem as had.  In the first place, were and was are identity verbs.  They identify equality or unity between objects or existence.  It was day.  It was night.  The building was stone.  Better writing is potentially.  The sun rose.  The sun set.  The day looked bright.  The night looked dark.  The building appeared stone or the stone building. 

Second, was and were constructions such as there were or there was or present constructions such as there are should be reduced.  I use it properly in the following sentence.  There are always stronger verbs that are more descriptive.  Change this to, the author can always choose stronger and more descriptive verbs.

Third, the use of was and were sometimes indicates an indirect construction such as: the cake was cooked by me.  I baked the cake—is better.  Plus, was and were are used to move into the subjunctive case.  The use of was is reasonable for identity statements, but these should be reduced as much as possible.  For example,

She was a teacher. (Okay)

She taught children. (Better)

You don’t need to get rid of every use of had, was, and were, but make a search through your writing and cull as many out as possible.

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, tension, release, creative, idea, logic 

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