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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 606, yet more Examples of Tone Q and A

8 December 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 606, yet 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.  This is one of my favorite scenes from the novel.  This is a scene of temptation.  Can you guess the tone?

        “Follow me.”  The demon led her into the cemetery and toward its center.  They came to a large area of flat stone that was very smooth.  Its surface had been finished with heavy mortar.  Ice and snow didn’t cover it.  The demon stopped and put the chest down on the snow covered grass.  He squatted in the snow beside it.

Aksinya stumbled to the smooth area and stopped.  She wrapped the fur cloak more tightly around her, “I am cold, and I am tired of walking.  Can’t we eat and find an inn?  Please, I’m freezing.”

“Good.  You are tired, hungry, and cold.  This will make it much easier for me.”

“Wha…what do you mean?”

“You saw the girl.  I want you to call her here.”

Aksinya shook her head, “Call her here?  Why call her here?”

“That girl seeks power.  She has never seen true power.  You, Countess, have true power.  I want you to call her here with your sorcery and let her see your power.”

Aksinya’s hand moved slowly to her mouth, “That’s what you meant when you said you wanted to tempt her to follow me?”

“You are a smart young woman when you put your mind to it.  I’m surprised I can tempt you so easily.”

“I won’t do it.”

Asmodeus stood.  He raised his arms.  The smell of sulfur increased.  He made a motion like he pulled something through the air.  Suddenly, he held the thick warm cloak that had been around Aksinya’s shoulders.  Asmodeus stroked the fur, “It is still warm from your body.  Are you cold Countess?”

Aksinya shivered, “You are supposed to protect me.  How is this protecting me?”

“You aren’t dead.  I never said I was here to prevent you from suffering.  Didn’t the great pain and agony you already experienced in your legs teach you that?  To achieve my ends, I’m willing to let you suffer quite a lot.”

Aksinya stepped toward the demon, “I order you to give me my cloak.”

Asmodeus opened the chest and threw it inside.  He closed the chest with a snap, “Get it yourself.”

Aksinya ran to the chest and tried to open it.  It was solidly locked.  She couldn’t budge the latch.

Asmodeus laughed, “Are you cold enough.”

Aksinya’s teach chattered, but she didn’t answer.

Asmodeus raised his arms and made another motion.  Aksinya almost fell.  The demon held her high-button shoes and her stockings.  Aksinya grabbed for them, “Give them back to me.  They are mine, not yours.”

Asmodeus only laughed and the shoes and stockings followed the cloak into his chest.

“Čort poberí[1]!  Give me my shoes and coat.”

“Cursing me will do you no good.  Plus, I am a devil already.”

“Give them to me.”

“Are you still not convinced?”  The demon lifted his hands again.  He raised them, and he held Aksinya’s dress and petticoats in his claws.

Aksinya stared at him in dismay.  She wrapped her arms over bare breasts and tried to cover herself.  She crouched on the stone and tried to make her naked body as small as she could.  The wind whistled around her.  She cried out, “I am your master.  We have a contract.  I order you to give me back my clothing.”

“I can’t hear you mistress.”  Asmodeus examined his claws, “Countess, you won’t freeze for a long time, but you will be very uncomfortable.  I know nudity bothers you.  I know you hate your naked body.  Ah, there you are, your worst nightmare.”

“Why won’t you obey me?  Why won’t you do as I ask?  Our contact requires it.”

“You should have read the contract more thoroughly.  It requires me to do evil in your name.  This isn’t evil.  I am at liberty to serve you as I choose in all other things.  If you asked me to do evil, I can certainly accommodate you.  If you ask me to take the clothing from someone else or to steal it, I gladly will.  However, that will be laid against your accounting.  There are some other rules.  Particularly, I’ve already told you, I can’t murder the innocent.  For you, I can murder those who are not innocent.  I can deliver torture as you desire but only in proportion to the sins a person has committed in this life.  You, dear Countess have committed grave sins, and so I may torture you, but… I don’t wish to torture you.”

Aksinya crouched and whimpered on the pavement.

“Can’t you speak, countess.  You are usually very fond of it.”

“Čort poberí!  Čort poberí!  Čort poberí[2]!.”

“I told you I am already damned.  Cursing will do you no good.”

Her voice was weaker, “Merde, merde, merde.”

“Changing the language you curse me will do you no good.”

Aksinya bit her lip, “Promise me you will not harm this girl.”

“I will not harm her.”

She screamed, “Swear it.”

“I can’t swear, but I will not harm her, Countess.  You will.”

Aksinya lowered her head, “I will take it on myself.  I will do as you ask.”

The petticoats and dress reappeared on her body.  Her shoes and stockings were suddenly on her feet and legs.  Asmodeus himself laid the thick warm mink cloak over her shoulders again, “Call the girl.  Call her, and you may dine and sleep and experience your erotic fantasies.”

Zatknis'!  Get me my things.”  Aksinya stomped to the center of the pavement.

The demon lifted his hands and opened the chest.  From inside came Aksinya’s staff and her dagger.  Her chalk and her candles settled at her feet.  A bundle of fresh herbs and a brazier of incense followed them.  One of Aksinya’s heavy books sailed through the air toward her.  She caught it midair.  Aksinya pulled her cloak more closely around her.  She glanced from the side of her eyes at the demon, “I want my bookstand.”

“Which one?”

“The one that I used when I called you.”

“I didn’t bring it.”

Aksinya whirled toward him, “Why didn’t you?”

“I didn’t.”

“What else didn’t you bring from my house?”

Asmodeus didn’t speak.

“I order you to tell me what you didn’t bring from my house.”

“Your request is neither evil nor within my desires.”

“I want a bookstand.  Steal one for me.”

“Very well.  I am pleased to steal for you and add this sin to your account.”

In an instant, the demon was gone.  Aksinya knelt on the freezing pavement and drew a circle and a pentagram.  She put up a tallow candle and lit her brazier and incense.  She cut the herbs with her dagger and prepared to make a calling for the girl.  For this she simple spell wouldn’t need a possession from the girl, she had seen her already.  She wouldn’t even need her name.  The face was clearly set in Aksinya’s mind.

After half an hour, Asmodeus returned with a fine mahogany bookstand.  He laid it before Aksinya outside the circle and pentagram.  She watched him carefully.  She reached out and picked it up and placed it in front of her.  She put her book on it and opened the right page.

“I know what you are thinking, Countess.”

“Perhaps you do and perhaps you do not.  You are practiced at lying, demon.  I didn’t trust you before, and I trust you even less now.  Don’t bother me while I am at this work.  Tell me the girl’s name.”

“You don’t need her name to do this.”

Aksinya barked, “But I want to know it, and I want to call her by name.  That is a surety in this business.”

“Very well.  Her name is the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.”

Aksinya turned a little toward the demon, “Is she the illegitimate daughter of Prince Aleksander Simonovich Andronikov?”

“Yes, very perceptive of you.  How did you know?”

“Her patronymic and her family name.  There was a rumor in the court about a Lady Obolenska.  Does Lady Natalya know?”

“She is pleasantly unaware but suspicious.  She only knows her mother abandoned her, and that she is a servant in the house of Prince Aleksander Simonovich Andronikov.  She is a brilliant girl whose intellect is well above those she waits on.  She doesn’t yet realize she hates them for this reason.”

“Do you know I am beginning to despise you, demon.”

“Only beginning.  I though your hatred would be well grounded by now.  Wrath is one of the seven deadly you know.”

Aksinya clenched her fists, “Yes, I know.”  She pulled herself up to her full height, “You brought me out here to this place.  Light my tallow candle.  I can’t light it in this wind.”

“I cannot light anything within the magic circle, and I can’t continue to keep it lit when it is inside.”

Aksinya hid her smile from him, “Then find me something to block the wind.”

Asmodeus opened his chest, rummaged around a moment, and pulled out a heavy candle lantern.  Aksinya recognized it from the cellar of her house.  He placed the lantern outside the circle, and Aksinya retrieved it.  She put her candle inside and lit it.  When each thing was in its place she began to speak the dark words. 

When she first began this business of sorcery, she had to be so careful, and it took her hours to set up everything for a simple enchantment.  Now she knew her business so well, she knew the exact and precise steps to properly make everything happen.  From years of practice came such ease. At the peak of the ceremony, she cut a sprig of the herb and whispered the girl’s name into it, “Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.”  It was so much simpler with the whole name.  Aksinya placed the bit of herb in her brazier.  It flared up and the incense caught it. She heard the name quietly repeated as she censed the five corners of the pentagram.  A puff of incense went out calling the girl to come.  It called her to come here to Aksinya.  With a glassy-eyed smile, Aksinya continued to cense the points of the pentagram.  Thought she knew one time was enough, she sent out call after call.  When the incense was nearly all gone, she laid down the brazier and prepared the second part of her work.

Asmodeus glanced at her, “What are you doing now, Countess?”

“You wished a show for her.  I will make her a display of power.”

“I asked you what you are doing.”

“Read it from my thoughts, demon.”

Asmodeus stood in silence.

“Yes, it is no secret now, is it?  Neither your body nor your mind can cross this magic circle.  What other things are impossible for you, demon.  I didn’t expect a confession from you, but there is much more you haven’t told me.”

“You can’t remain within that circle forever.”

“No, I cannot, but it is enough to know, isn’t it?”

A noise startled Aksinya.  She ducked.

Asmodeus laughed, “What do you fear, countess?  You have encountered demons.”  Then he raised his head and spoke excitedly, “She comes.”

Aksinya stood straight.  She was too embarrassed to speak.

A shadow flitted between the tombstones.  It moved closer and closer.  It was the girl, the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.  She was dressed in the clothing she had worn earlier.  She had a light cloak over it.  She moved warily and cognizantly.  She made her way to the edge of the pavement and stared in amazement at Aksinya.  She studied the magic circle and the pentagram.  She gazed at everything on the pavement, but she didn’t step onto the flat stones.  Finally, she swallowed, “Did you call me?”

Aksinya smiled a wide smile, “I called you, Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.”

“How do you know my name?”

“I watched you tonight.”

“What do you wish of me?”

“I think you should run.  I think you should go quickly away from here.”

Asmodeus stepped from the shadows.  He waved his hand, “You will not leave, Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.  If you try to move, you will find you cannot.”

The girl stuck her chin forward, “I do not wish to leave.  I want to know why she called me.”

Aksinya scowled at her, “Why don’t you run?  Don’t you see the demon before you?”

Asmodeus grinned, “You are an idiot.  She sees me as I wish her to see me.”

Aksinya spoke her Latin words and saw a handsome courtier.

Asmodeus addressed Natalya, “Lady Natalya, let me introduce the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna.  She is the one who called you, and she is a most wonderful and powerful sorceress in this world.  She can teach you to be just the same as she.  She called you here because she needs a lady-in-waiting and an apprentice.  Would you care to join yourself to her?  Would you like to become her lady and her apprentice?”

As if Natalya had waited all her life to hear those specific words, she fell to her knees and cried out.  The tears were obvious in her voice, “Dear lady, I would do anything to become your lady-in-waiting and your apprentice.  If you would only take me away from this place.  Please take me away from here and never bring me back.”

Aksinya frowned, “I don’t want you for my lady-in-waiting or my apprentice.”

Asmodeus waved his hand.  The world seemed to stop outside the magic circle.  He glared at Aksinya, “I will only tell you once.  I can destroy this girl.  You will accept her gladly as your lady-in-waiting and your apprentice.”

“You swore not to harm her.”

“I will not harm her.”

“Plus, she is innocent.  You cannot kill her.”

“I said I will not harm her.”

“You can’t make me do anything I don’t wish to do while I am inside this circle.”

“You are so naive.  I did not set all this up for you to be able to reject her.  Look.”  The demon strode over to the unmoving girl.  He turned her around, pulled off her light cloak, and ripped open the back of her dress.  Whip scars crisscrossed the girl’s back.  He lifted her skirt at the back.  Her thighs and buttocks were covered with new whip cuts.  They were still raw and oozed blood.  “Didn’t you wonder why it took so long for her to respond to your call?  You are the greatest sorceress on the face of the globe.  She should have come running, but she couldn’t until the Lady Andronikov finished this work.  The girl could barely walk here much less run.  The prince’s wife and lady well knows this girl is his child.  She never intends to ever let him forget it.  The Lady Natalya believes she is punished for her frequent mistakes.  Countess, she never makes a mistake.  She goes over things in her mind again and again, certain she has done each step correctly, and the lady of the house punishes her every day for false errors.”

Aksinya sighed, “You tempt me again, demon.”

“Yes, this is indeed temptation.”

“Make time run right again.  I will accept her.  Get me a great cloak worthy of the lady-in-waiting to a countess.”

Asmodeus turned Natalya back around.  He went to his chest and pulled out a warm long cloak that had been Aksinya’s.  He raised his hand, and suddenly the girl was released.  Natalya took a deep breath.  She fell forward on her face.  She cried again, “Please, Countess, accept me as your lady-in-waiting.  Anything.  I would do anything…”

Aksinya called out a couple of Latin words.  She struck her dagger against the ground and a spark rose up.  She spoke again and the world was filled with light.

Natalya jerked up from the ground.  She raised her head.  Aksinya stepped out of the magic circle.  She clasped Natalya’s arms and lifted her up.  Asmodeus held out the cloak.  Aksinya took if from his hands and draped it around Natalya’s body.  Aksinya embraced the girl.  They were almost the same height.  She held her and kissed her cheeks.  Aksinya stated clearly, “Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska, I Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna accept you into my household as my lady-in-waiting and as my apprentice.  Welcome, Lady Natalya.”

The girl began to tremble.  She clasped Aksinya, and her tears fell hot and wet against her neck.  They stood together for a long time.

This is not a gentle or unthreatening scene at all—the tone is controlled from the demon and abject pain and suffering from Aksinya.  Notice, she doesn’t cry or breakdown.  She is in complete control of herself, but she can’t control anything else.  The demon tempts and uses coercion to make her act as he wills.  Aksinya can’t interject her will.  I had to give you this scene—like I wrote, it is my favorite.  The evil in the world conspires against Aksinya, and this is only the beginning.  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] Cursed devil!
[2] Cursed devil!

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