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Friday, December 25, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 623, Descriptive Sound Effects Tools for Developing Tone Q and A

25 December 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 623, Descriptive 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 descriptive sound effects to create a tone.  I’ll note some of it in the text so you don’t miss it.  I like to write about Christmas—here is a little Christmas surprise.


        Christmas rolled around with its normal excitement and delight.  Marie and George Hastings planned to bring their children to the Lyons to exchange gifts and for Christmas dinner.  The Lyons decided to delay their gift giving until them.  Aleksandr said nothing about gifts to Lumière.

        Christmas afternoon, Breckenridge opened the door and was overcome by two little children.  Little Paul ran between his legs, “Happy Christmas, Breckenridge.” 

        He was followed closely by his three year old sister, “Happy Christmas, Breckenridge.”  Her soft pallet decimated the name and the salutation.

        George and Marie were not far behind them.  Little Paul and Leora headed for the parlor and stood in absolute awe of the Christmas tree.  Aleksandr and Bruce had brought it from the countryside, and Tilly and Lumière had decorated it.  It was the first time a tree ever held all of the ancient decorations Tilly’s mother had given her.  Under it were presents and pretties of all kinds.  Breckenridge and George brought in presents from the car and laid them also under the tree.

        When Breckenridge announced the arrival of the Hastings, Lumière and Tilly, Bruce and Aleksandr came running.  Marie embraced Lumière, and Tilly lifted little Leora in her arms.  The gentlemen all retired to the study.  Marie kissed her sister, “How are you Lumière?  You look so much better now.”  Tears filled her eyes, “You don’t know how long I have waited to say those words to you.  Why don’t you visit, Lumière?”

        Tilly led them into her sitting room.  They sat and spoke while Tilly entertained little Leora.

        Lumière laughed, “I love you Marie, but the Foreign Office just works me to the bone.  You’ll have to ask them for a holiday.”

        “I just may.  You don’t have to work, Lumière.  You know that.”

        “I need to work.”

        “Yes, mother said that about you.  How is your friend, Aleksandr?”

        “He is well.  He took me to the opera and bought me chocolates.”

        “That sounds promising.”

        Lumière sat up straight and shook out her hair, “He works for Uncle Bruce.  He is Dr. Diakonov.”

        “Really?  I didn’t realize he possessed that level of education.”

        “He was once an Assistant Professor of Oriental Languages.”

        “What about your work?”

        “That is going well too.  I was promoted to assistant diplomat.  I was in China for almost two months this year.”

        Marie grabbed Lumière’s hand, “Mother told me about Geneva.  I’m so sorry, Lumière.”

        “I’m all right, Marie.”

        Marie stared into her eyes, “I am always so worried about you Lumière, but when I heard…”

        Lumière turned her head, “Would you like tea?”

        “Yes, please.  The day is freezing and dreary, but no snow.”

        Lumière called Breckenridge for tea, and he served them all.  The gentlemen ordered coffee.  After a while, Breckenridge announced dinner.  Bruce gave the blessing.

        Throughout dinner, little Paul kept glancing back toward the parlor.  Little Leora didn’t say much.  She just watched her brother.  Paul stared so much, Bruce finally asked, “Paul, didn’t Father Christmas bring you anything?”

        “Yes, he did, but Aunt Tilly always gives me toys and pretty books.”

        “Just Aunt Tilly?”

        “Of course, everyone knows who is allowed to shop.”


        “It is the mothers and aunts.  Fathers and uncles bring home the money.”

        Everyone laughed at his childish understanding of economics.

        Marie smiled at Paul, “You know, Paul, you have another aunt.”

        “I do?”

        “Yes, I told you before, this is your Aunt Lumière.”

        He spoke in perfect French, “Shouldn’t she be Tante Lumière.”

        Lumière answered him in French, “Of course.”

        Paul was delighted and spoke from then on to Lumière only in French.  When Lumière turned to say something to Tilly in English, Paul stared at her, “Tante Lumière, why don’t you speak English properly?  I’m certain you can.”

        Marie shushed him, “It is because she is French.”

        Paul took this explanation and thought it over, “She looks like Mémère, and Mémère is French, but Mémère always speaks most properly.  Why does Dr. Diakonov speak his English improperly—is he French too?”

        Marie looked at him with some exasperation, “Dr. Diakonov is Russian.”

        Paul nodded, “He speaks Russian?”

        “Da,” answered Aleksandr.

        This was a new thing to Paul, and he couldn’t speak Russian.  He mulled this over for a while and couldn’t make heads or tales of it.  He finally asked, “Is dinner over?  Can we open presents?”

        Tilly grinned at him, “We can have coffee and dessert after we open presents.  But first, we must thank those who work so hard for us all year long.”  Tilly presented envelopes and gifts to Breckenridge, their upstairs maid, and their cook.  The bonus was substantial.

        The family all retired leisurely to the parlor except little Paul and Leora who ran as fast as they could.  Lumière sat on the floor with little Paul and Leora while the rest of the adults found seats in the chairs that ringed the room.

        “Tante Lumière,” asked Paul, “Why do you walk so funny?”

        Marie came to her sister’s rescue, “Paul, you should not ask such a thing.  It makes her sad.  She was injured during the war.”

        Paul’s small face became distraught for just a moment.  He lightly touched Lumière’s arm, “I am so sorry, Tante Lumière.  Are you a war hero like Pépère, Mémère, Uncle Bruce, and Papa?

        Bruce unbuttoned his top shirt button, “Tante Lumière is a great war hero, but we don’t speak about it.”  Bruce winked at little Paul.

        Tilly punched Bruce, “You’ll just make him more curious.  Lumière doesn’t need that.”

        Lumière kissed little Paul’s cheek, “Perhaps we should open presents.  Will you carry them around to everyone?”

        Paul was delighted.  He picked up the presents, read the labels, and handed them to their recipients.  When he needed help, he asked Lumière.  Soon everyone had their presents in front of them.  In turn, youngest to oldest, they all opened their presents one by one and displayed them to each other.  Lumière received Russian tea and chocolates.  When they had all opened their presents.  Aleksandr stood, “I have one last present to give.”  He stepped over to Lumière and went to his knees beside her.  He pulled a small ribbon tied box out of his pocket and handed it to Lumière.

        Lumière stared in surprise at him. 

        Aleksandr nodded, “I know you never like to be the center of attention, Svetochka, but today you are.”

        Lumière smelled the box, “It doesn’t smell like chocolates.”  She untied the ribbon on the small box then she delicately unwrapped the paper.  She held the box in her hand and slowly opened it up.  Inside was a diamond ring.

        Aleksandr took her hand and put the ring on her finger, “Lumière Bolang, will you honor me by becoming my bride?”

        Lumière lowered her head and the ladies took a deep breath.  She turned her face back to Aleksandr.  Her cheeks were covered with tears, “Even with all my faults, you will still have me, Sashechka?”

        “I will have you because I love you Lumière—just Lumière.”

        Under the Christmas tree Lumière lifted her face to Aleksandr and kissed him.  She put her arms around his neck.  Everyone cheered and laughed.  After a while, Lumière’s sister and aunt had to help Aleksandr remove her lips from his.  Aunt Tilly laughed, “That’s enough kissing until after the wedding.”

        Paul stared at his beautiful Tante and just pronounced, “Yuck.”  While little Leora clapped her hands in delight.

This example comes from my yet unpublished novel, Shadow of Light.  The tension and release is evident in this scene—it is opening Christmas presents along with the work subjects of the family that everyone tiptoes around.  Of course, the engagement at the end is also a tension and release.  For the main focus of descriptive sound effects—look at the last two paragraphs.  The cheering and laughing is one obvious descriptive sound effect.  The other is little Leora clapped her hands in delight.


Note that a descriptive sound effect is the get off the stage end for the scene and this chapter.  This is a use for sound effects.  I noted yesterday, they can identify the change of tone.  In this case, a sound effect concludes the scene and the chapter.  The tone is maintained--the section is at an end.  

We’ll look at images created by similes next.

More tomorrow.
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