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Monday, December 7, 2015

riting Ideas - New Novel, part 605, still more Examples of Tone Q and A

7 December 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 605, still more Examples of Tone 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.  Historical 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 suggested 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 13. 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.

I'm writing from Florida--thought you should know.

If tone is the feel of the writing, the author must start first with what tone he wants to convey. 

Aksinya is a great example of tone in a novel.  The novel moves from horror and murder to blissful elegance and high society.  The tone of the scenes range from love to hate and from great happiness to despair.  The peaks of human emotion and human suffering are found in Aksinya—the tone of the novel must therefore fit the scenes.  Here is an early scene.  Can you guess the tone?

        Asmodeus strode through the door with a service in his hands.  He laid the tray in front of her on the bed.  It held a hot pot of tea.  He poured it for her and lifted the covers from the dishes.  The smell of the food overwhelmed Aksinya’s senses.  The sulfurous scent of the demon was only a trace in the air.  He had made her an omelet and bread.  Everything was fresh.  She prayed and crossed herself.

The demon let out a depreciating sound, “To bless that which was made with a curse is perhaps the act of a fool.”

Aksinya ignored his comment and began to eat.

She ate almost everything he brought her.  Then she settled back in her pillows with the cup in her hand, “Thank you, demon.  I feel much better.”

“You needn’t thank me, you gave up part of the virtue of your soul along with your life to gain that repast.”

“I understand that, but I needed to eat.”

“These human needs…”

Aksinya sipped her tea, “Don’t you eat?”

“Never.  I have no need for food.  I have no human needs and no human desires.  My only desire comes from our contract and from my desire to do evil.”

“It is not evil to prepare good food or to take care of my needs.”

“It is evil for you to use up your soul and life to gain them.”

She peeked over her cup, “Perhaps.”

“Now,” Asmodeus sneered, “since your human needs are assuaged, it is time to plan.  What do you intend to do now?”

“I only thought to save my family.  Now, I have no family.  They are all dead.  I don’t know what to do.  You tell me.  You can’t or will not help me fight the Bolsheviks.  You told me, you won’t help me fight this revolution…”

“I like revolutions.  The evil it brings to the world is pleasant to me.”

“I have no other plans.”

“You must survive.  Whether you accomplish the desires of your heart are beyond my understanding or care, but for our contract, you must survive.”

“The desires of my heart…I had but one desire and that is dust and ashes.”

“Then perhaps you will meet my desires.”

Aksinya’s lip curled up, “Your desires are the least of my concern.”

“But your desires are mine.  Especially those that are evil, and those that continue to abrade your soul.”

Aksinya glowered at him, “What would that be?”

“It should be obvious to you.  I wish you to do evil.  The most evil thing you have ever done was to bring me into this world and to contract with me.  It was a lifelong goal for you.  This is a very pleasant kind of evil to me.”

“What if I don’t wish to do evil?”

Asmodeus smiled, “It is too late for that.  If not willfully, I will force you to engage in evil doings.  You have engaged in it so long…why should you complain if I ask you to continue in it?  I know your heart—it is as black as mine.  Plus, what I ask you to do is simple for you.”

Aksinya turned her head, “Why?  What do you want of me?”

“I wish you to continue with your study of sorcery.  That is certainly evil.”

“I have no purpose for it anymore.”

“You put years of study into it, and you are very adept—perhaps the greatest sorceress in this lifetime.  The fact you called and contracted me are the evidence of that.”

Aksinya sipped her tea, “I did not intend to give it up.”

“I thought so.  It already has marked your soul—the forbidden fruit.  Such things become like the lustful desires you already know, they are difficult to purge from your heart and mind once they are experienced.”

“Zatknis'[1]!  You may know my mind, but you needn’t say such embarrassing things.”

“It is like all human desires.  It is what makes you human,” his lip curled up over his fangs.  “Humans are so disgusting.”

Aksinya sipped her tea and ignored him.

“Now, Countess, let us plan what you should do.  The first is that you cannot stay here.”

“I have nowhere else to go.”

“Foolish lady, we will soon run out of food to feed you and heat to sustain your puny body.”

“You can provide me all these things…”

“At the expense of your soul.”

“I thought you desired that.”

“And at the expense of my reputation.  I told you, I do not wish to become your domestic.”

Aksinya laughed, “You already are.”

“I have my pride, that is one of the seven deadly sins, you know.”

“So, if you are my domestic it hurts your pride?” Aksinya continued to chuckle.

“This is not funny.  I am Asmodeus.  I will not remain this way.”

“What can you do to stop it?”

“I will protect you and I will fulfill our contract, but I can make it exquisitely painful for you to carry on in this manner.”

Aksinya’s brow rose, “How could you do that?  What suffering could you bring me that I haven’t already experienced?”

“Your people and friends will be pursued by the Bolsheviks.  I can bring great suffering to them—that is my purpose.”

Aksinya let her cup fall to the saucer, “You wouldn’t dare.  I would simply order you to…”

“I told you.  I can’t stop this revolution, and I don’t desire to stop it.  The lives of your friends and your people are nothing to me.  You can order all you wish, but I will protect only you.  My purpose, otherwise, is evil.  You know this.”

“I understand this,” Aksinya ran her fingers through her short hair.  She regretted that as soon as she did.  It reminded her of everything she had done already.  Meekly, she whispered, “Then what do you wish me to do.”

“First, I must find you a servant.”

“If so, it must be someone you will not harm.”

Asmodeus grinned, “I have the perfect servant in mind.”

“Then what?”

“I told you, you must continue to study sorcery.  To do that, you need a safe place to live and work.”

Aksinya mumbled into her teacup, “Where is such a place?”

“There are many such places.  I know your mind so I know you have relatives beyond the boarders of this country.  They will be willing to take you in and give you leave to live as you wish.”

This is one of my favorite tones—it is simply communication.  In it are highs and lows, some excitement and a little conflict, but generally communication.  You should be able to taste the tone moving through the words and the interaction—it is somewhat gentle with only a few peaks.  This is a direct contrast to the other scenes and tones I’ve shown you.  Right now, I want you to get the feel of tone—later we will look at the how of the tone. 

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

[1] Shut up!

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