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Friday, December 11, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 609, Confession Examples of Tone Q and A

11 December 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 609, Confession 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 part of the theme climax of the novel.  I already revealed the tone to you—here is Aksinya’s confession. 

Aksinya felt herself lifted from the ground.  Father Dobrushin held her close and carried her through the open doorway.  Aksinya heard the door shut behind them.

Someone touched her face and felt her forehead.  The hand was soft and gentle, it brushed the hair away from her face.  A woman’s voice this time, “Is she ill?  I don’t think she has a fever.”

Aksinya couldn’t speak properly.  Her voice was rough and torn, “Father, father, please confess me.  I must confess, for I am guilty of much evil.”

The woman’s voice chuckled, “Confess you, Countess.  Let us take you back to your house.”

“I have murdered.  I can’t go back there.  They will be coming for me soon, and I must confess now before it is too late.”


Aksinya’s eyes flashed open.  The light was too bright and she closed them again.  She panted still in a hoarse whisper, “I am a murderer.  I must confess.”  She held out her hands.

“They are covered with blood…”

The Father Makar’s voice spoke too gently, “Just a few scrapes—a little blood.”   The tone of the voice lowered and changed slightly, “Father Dobrushin?  Will you confess her?”

Aksinya cried out, “You must all listen.  You must know what I am.”

“That isn’t the way it is usually done, child.”

“For me, you must listen to my confession.  Then you must give me over to them.  My life is forfeit and my soul is forfeit, but I will die knowing I am confessed.”

The woman’s voice, “She sounds serious.”

Father Makar replied, “Ekaterina, she’s delirious, unbalanced.  Such a confession is irregular, and a confession from an unbalanced mind…”

Father Dobrushin clasped Aksinya a little more tightly, “I will hear your confession, Countess.”

“Don’t call me that.  I am nothing now.  I am nothing.”

“Take her into the Ecclesia.”

Ekaterina spoke, “I’ll light the candles.”

Father Makar’s voice was tired, “I’ll get the sacrament.”

Father Dobrushin carried Aksinya a little farther.  Aksinya felt the crucifix between her breasts begin to heat.  They passed through a doorway, and the heat increased suddenly and nausea overwhelmed her.  She gagged and bile filled her mouth.  She breathed in and vomit burned her nose and throat.  Father Dobrushin made a sound, “Are you all right?”  He placed Aksinya on the floor and lifted her head. 

Aksinya couldn’t stop retching.  Her body writhed.  The priest held her until she couldn’t retch anymore.  The crucifix still burned against her skin. 

Father Dobrushin gave a great sigh, “She is ill.”

Aksinya croaked out, “Not ill.  It is the evil in me.”  She opened her eyes and tugged at his cassock, “You must confess me.” 

He sighed again, “I will confess you, but you must be able to speak.  You must be in your right mind.”

“I beg you.  Let me kneel at the altar.  I will tell everything to you.”

“To God.”

“God will not listen to me anymore.  I forsook Him.  But you will do.”

Father Dobrushin made a sound that was a cross between a sob and a laugh.

“Don’t mock me.  You can’t know.”

“I don’t know until you tell me.  I will listen to you.  Are you well enough that I can carry you again?”

Aksinya nodded, but the nausea still filled her body and the taste and smell of vomit in her mouth only made it worse.

Father Dobrushin lifted her again.  Aksinya swallowed and fought down the desire to retch.  The crucifix still burned against her skin.  Father Dobrushin placed her on her knees and held her hands.  She would have fallen on her face otherwise.

        Aksinya pulled one hand from Father Dobrushin’s and made the sign of the cross.  She gave a cry.  Father Dobrushin grasped her hand again before she could topple over.  Aksinya began:  “I confess to God the Father Almighty,”  She gagged slightly then rushed through the words, “and to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, in the presence of Virgin Mary and all angels, prophets, seventy-two emissaries, twelve apostles and four evangelists, and confess in the faith of the three holy synods of Nicea, Constantinople and Ephesus, trusting in the honorable priestly authority conferred upon you, Father Dobrushin, by which you bind and retain sins.”  Aksinya paused and took a shallow breath, “I have sinned in thought, word and deed. I repent my sins. You are the master, and I am the servant. Accept me as the prodigal son. I have sinned against heaven and against you. I believe that you have authority to bind and retain sins and that you are the mediator between God and me. And I pray that you deliver me from all my sins by your priestly authority that I may obtain forgiveness. I pray that you remember me before God, in your prayers and in the holy Qurbono. Amen.”  Aksinya began to tremble and the crucifix over her heart felt as though it was on fire.

        Father Dobrushin held her hands more tightly, “Go on...”

        Aksinya continued, “Father, I am a sorceress.”  Aksinya raised her face and cried out, “Let me confess.  You can’t stop me.  All the pain in the world will not stop me from confessing.”

        Father Dobrushin stiffened, “Who is stopping you?”

        “All the devils in hell are trying to stop me in this.”

        Father Makar’s voice came from the side, “She can’t confess.  She is not right in her mind.”

        Father Dobrushin commanded, “Tell me, Aksinya, your sin.  I will listen.”

        “I brought a demon up from the pit.  He was the Demon Asmodeus.  You must know of him.  He was the demon who tormented Raguel's daughter, Sarah.  He killed her bridegrooms when they came to her.  He was the one that Solomon wrote about in the Testament of Solomon.  Tobias forced him into upper Egypt, but he came to me when I called him, and I bound him to myself in a contract.  Asmodeus is the demon of luxuria and lust.  I have worked much evil through him and he through me, but the worst is that I am truly a sorceress.”

        “Can there be such a being?  She is insane.” Father Makar’s exasperated voice came again.

        Father Dobrushin turned his head a little, “She believes it with all her heart.  Such a thing can be.”  He faced Aksinya again, “Please, confess everything you wish, Aksinya.”

        “I desired to seduce Herr von Taaffe, but my lady-in-waiting was encouraged by the demon to sleep with him for my sake.  Because of that, I sent Herr von Taaffe away and I beat the Lady Natalya.  I think I killed her.”  Aksinya gave a cry.  “I am guilty of so many sins, I can’t begin to tell them all to you.  I used sorcery to kill.  I used it to harm.  I have done nothing but harm others for my entire life.”

        Matushka Ekaterina stepped beside them, “Father Dobrushin, something is burning.  I thought it was the tapers, but I can see smoke near you.”

        Aksinya cried out again.  She yanked her hand from the priest’s and placed it over her heart.

        Ekaterina yelled, She is burning.  The Matushka ripped the front of Aksinya’s dress open.  The fabric was charred.  The camisole beneath it was smoking.  Ekaterina pulled the burning fabric away from Aksinya’s chest.  Her bare skin was singed.  The beautiful gold crucifix was almost glowing.  A repeatedly blackened mark marred Aksinya’s small breasts.  It was shaped like a cross.  Ekaterina grasped the chain and pulled the crucifix away from Aksinya’s skin, “Let her continue.  She must continue.”

        Aksinya seemed oblivious to everything.  She whispered, “If I were to confess everything I would be here on my knees for weeks, and I’m not certain I have the strength for another minute.”

        Ekaterina called out, “Absolve her.  Absolve the girl so I can do something to help her.”      

        Father Dobrushin placed his right hand on Aksinya’s head and loudly announced, “May God have mercy upon you, and may He guide you to everlasting life through the authority of priesthood which was entrusted by our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples who, in turn, entrusted it to their successors until it was given me; I who am weak and sinful, absolve you, Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna of all the sins that you have confessed and are repentant of them, as well as of all the transgressions which have escaped your memory in the Name of the Father, amen, and of the Son, amen and of the Holy Spirit for everlasting life. Amen.”

Aksinya screamed and arched her back.  Ekaterina held her tightly.  Father Dobrushin rose and lifted Aksinya up with him.  He kissed her cheeks.  The crucifix was suddenly cold.  Aksinya, senseless, fell forward into his arms. 

This really is a trick--the point about tone.  I promise, I will tell you about creating tone.  The novel Aksinya is one example of how to create tone.  It is the way I build tone in the scenes.  There is another method of developing tone.  If you read my novel, Aegypt, you will see that means of building tone.  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

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