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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 621, Examples Sound Effects Tools for Developing Tone Q and A

23 December 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 621, Examples Sound Effects Tools for Developing 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.

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

The second method of developing tone is through tension and release.  Let’s look at the specific tools used to create tone in tension and release (these can also be used in the scene setting).  I like the list from the question—it is nearly exhaustive:  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.  Why don’t we look at each of these tools?
Sound effects are simply onomatopoeia, exclamations, or descriptive words.  Here is an example of using exclamations and descriptive words to create a tone.  This is not exactly a cultural tone, but it is.  This is the intentional creation of a cultural tone in order to distract the attention of others, but it is used by a covert agent.  This is also how an author does it.

Lumière placed her portfolio and the envelope on his desk.  Mr. Long tore immediately into the envelope.  He pulled out the long letter and read it.  His eyes widened as he read.  After a moment he noted Lumière’s attention and covered his face with the paper.  Mr. Long took a deep breath, put down the letter, and opened Lumière’s portfolio.  He looked up at her under his brows, “Your portfolio is very thin for your background.  Have you had an opportunity to memorize it?”


“Most of the ones I get are all false.”  He smiled, but didn’t look at her.  Mr. Long’s smile widened and widened as he read through the portfolio.  Finally Lumière could see all his teeth.  He turned his gaze up at her and chewed thoughtfully at his lips, “You speak French and are a French citizen.  You could act as though you are a secretary.  You are an expert in Chinese—and I mean an expert.”  He turned his head then rolled his eyes back at her, “Can you fake a French accent and do it twenty-four hours, seven days a week?”

“Y-yes.”  Lumière faked a French accent, “I think I can.  It is not how I was trained to speak.”

“Have you ever been trained as an agent?”

“A spy, you mean?”

Mr. Long nodded.


“Yes, of course, honestly.”


Mr. Long jerked upright and leaned forward, “Very good, but we don’t use the term ‘spy’ around here—we say ‘agent.’  That is the official term.”  He put his finger alongside his nose, “Here is what you will do.  I am going to put you in place as the secretary for Sir Reginald Bower.  He is a lecher and a woman chaser.  He would love to have a beautiful French secretary.”

Lumière sat up straight, “Really sir!”

“Continue with the fake French accent.  You are marvelously beautiful.  Didn’t you know?”

“Really Mr. Long I’m sure I have heard that before, but it is really tedious.  What about Sir Reginald being a lecher.”

“You needn’t worry about that.  He is henpecked, his wife has him on a short leash, and he is attracted to ugly floozies.  He just loves to be seen with beautiful women.  You will be the perfect secretary for him.  Now, Sir Reginald is an important British diplomat to China.”  Mr. Long stood up and moved his hands in response to his words, “You are French.  You speak English just well enough to get along.”  He stared at her and raised his brow, “Do you need to take notes?  I never forget.  You must not forget.  If you break the protocol I give you, you’re out.  Understand?”

“Yes.  I understand.  I will not forget.”

“Now listen, you are beautiful and slightly provocative.”

“I am generally not intentionally provocative.”

“I said slightly provocative.  You must be very attractive.  You don’t need to act too bright.  I want no suspicion placed on you from any side.  You are a silly French secretary hired for your looks.”

“I have an injured leg and I croak like a crow.”

“You are one of the unfortunate injured during the war.  This will make you more beautiful to some, pathetic to others, and answer the question of why you aren’t already married to a rich Frenchman.”  He gestured at her, “Just keep up that fake accent.  Now, you must not let anyone know that you are conversant in Chinese.  You are to listen.”  He stared at her again and squinted his eyes.

“I understand.”

“Nice roll there.  Very French sounding.”

“I am French.”

“But you sound so British.  No more, right?  And no one gets an inkling that you understand Chinese, not a word.  I insist that you act the typical French tourist when you interact with the Chinese.  Is this really clear?”

“Oui, Monsieur Long, that is very clear.”

“You may use bad grammar, if you desire.  Sir Reginald won’t care a wit if you can write or type or any of those things.  You must be able to make good tea and coffee and shake a drink every now and then…and listen.  I most need you mostly to listen.”

Lumière nodded.

“Let me hear that marvelous French accent.”

“Oui, Monsieur Long, you are very clear.  I understand.”

This example comes from my yet unpublished novel, Shadow of Light.  I didn’t give you the tension and release in this scene.  This is a long scene, but a very fun scene.  The transformation of Lumière Bolang to a covert agent, and her operations as a covert agent are the focus of the novel.

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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