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Monday, December 28, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 626, Example Images Created by Similes Tools for Developing Tone Q and A

28 December 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 626, Example Images Created by Similes 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 first method of developing tone is through scene setting--the second method 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?

Images created by figures of speech, including similes, are tools in scene setting and tension and release that help create tone.


Let’s think a moment about the concept of images created by figures of speech.  I’ve written before that figures of speech are the most important part of writing.  The reason is the images they invoke.  Tone just happens to be a byproduct of the image.  This is why figures of speech are so important and also why authors need to use them well.


I will admit, I’ve become much more of a realistic writer as I’ve gained experience.  My writing has become less ornamental and more terse.  It has also become stronger in many areas—more imaginative in some and less imaginative in others.  It has become less imaginative (using fewer figures of speech for image development) in scene setting, and more imaginative (more figures of speech for image development) in conversations and action.  Just as the piece of action below shows.


Mrs. Lyons took a book, and they both went to the parlor at the front of the house.  The thick summer sunlight sifted through the front windows.    The room possessed two large wingback chairs and a small French provincial visiting-sofa with open carved wooden armrests.  A low tea table sat before the chairs and the sofa.  Under the tea table lay an ancient oriental rug.  By this time, Essie’s eyes looked heavy.  The girl blinked them as though she could barely hold them open.  Mrs. Lyons sat Essie on the sofa and tied her leash to its arm.  She sat in her favorite wingback, the one nearest the windows and the front door on the left.

The sunlight fell full on the sofa.  Essie immediately curled up in the sunshine and fell asleep.  Mrs. Lyons began to read.  As the sun moved across the room, so did Essie.  She mysteriously followed the pool of sunlight to the full extent of her leash.    When the sunlight slipped off the sofa, so did she.  She ended up on the rug curled up like a large cat, still immersed in the sunlight.    Immersed in sunlight.>
  Mrs. Lyons read quietly and watched her unusual charge.  As the sun progressed, Essie came to the end of her rope, so to speak, and couldn’t move any further to follow the sunlight.    Her eyes opened slowly.  She yawned.  She glanced at the light and then at Mrs. Lyons.  She slipped as much of her body as she could into the pool of sunlight and closed her eyes again. 
Mrs. Lyons finally felt sorry for her and untied the leash.  The moment Mrs. Lyons touched it, Essie woke and bared her teeth.  She recognized her surroundings and yawned.  Her appearance slipped back to normalcy.  Mrs. Lyons moved the leash to the other end of the sofa, and Essie returned to the sunlight.  She fell asleep again.  That lasted for a few more hours until the noon sun left the parlor completely in shadows.  Essie sat up with a slightly grumpy look and glanced around.

I’ll ad another passage from Essie.  In this piece, Essie is going to save Claire from the fae.  Notice the sparse use of figures of speech—there is even a simile.  


Essie moved like lightning.    She had not been free like this for a long time.  She had been reading her book and studying it—she was still very slow with the words.  She knew them once before, but she had somehow forgotten them.  The pictures and the words were very instructive.  She saw how it was supposed to go around her neck, and she knew the talisman branch went into her hair.  They both felt warm and correct in their places.  She knew their power filled her, although she wasn’t certain how to use them to their full potential.  They rested properly against her body and gave strength to her.  She felt stronger than she had in a long time.  She knew their power, though she didn’t know how to fully use them—yet.

The forest paths appeared like open roads to her.    She moved in them as if she were made to them.  She moved faster than any of the fae.  She moved with a certainty.  They couldn’t mask their scent, nor the scent of Claire from her.  She didn’t follow their path exactly—she paralleled it.  She also started to slow on purpose.  She didn’t want to catch them too quickly.  She might be able to overcome them in the forest or glades, but that wasn’t her plan.  She wanted to bring great fear to them.  Her intention was to threaten and punish, and she didn’t want any accidental or intentional injury to come to Claire.  The fae could do both to a human girl.  They would try their best to keep Claire safe—she was the White Lady’s granddaughter after all.  But the fae believed they could pass any injury off as Essie’s fault.  She realized that too.

For some reason, Essie fully understood the fae.  She wasn’t certain why, but she knew their hearts and minds.  Perhaps the fae had kept her too long in their company, and she learned too much from them.  Or perhaps she just knew everything about them.  She didn’t know.  Even in her wildcat shape, she understood them.  When she stood naked, either as a human or as a wildcat, she felt as if the entire world belonged to her.  She felt like Eve in the garden with the responsibility of the Dagda resting squarely on her shoulders—on hers and no one else’s.    As if the Dagda formed her for this purpose alone.

She ran at an easier pace now.  It was a pace intended to bring her to that place directly after the fae arrived.  She planned to give them time to feel safe, and to feel they arrived free from pursuit.  She knew they didn’t expect her to chase after them.  She knew they could not detect her.  She knew their plans before they made them.  She shouldn’t have left Claire in the garden alone.  Mrs. Lyons wore a cross and had a presence in the world.  Claire did not.  Claire was only a child.  She would be beguiled by them.  Still, now Essie must watch everyone whom she befriended.  After she finished with the fae, she hoped, they would likely not give her any other problems.

Essie ran through the night.  She followed her prey into the darkness and into the hills and slight mountains of the Welshlands.  The fae intentionally kept well away from the ancient places of humans and the White Lady’s power.  They kept to the secret bowers of their kind and the secret places of their kind.  Essie moved her course to the left and the right.  She stayed out of their places and their sight and smell.  Although none of them should be able to smell her or detect her, she didn’t want any incidents.  She couldn’t become wholly invisible, but she could blend with the land wherever she wished.  She became one with the land, and the land was hers.  Every place of the fae was hers.  She knew it.  She felt it.

In her wildcat form, she didn’t tire and she didn’t hunger.  She knew the moment she turned back, earthly weariness would return to her.  She began to pace herself a little more, and she hunted.  She felt little desire to hunt while she remained in her current form, but she wanted strength when she arrived at her destination.

The sun began to rise, and Essie knew she came close to the place.  She felt the presence of the fae everywhere.  They had set guards and wards all around their abode.  She circumvented them all.  She snuck through them as if she flited, the shadow of a shadow.  Finally, she ran over a rise and saw the forest and the ground fall back into a wide meadow.  The meadow lay filled with grass and the places of the fae.  It backed to a deep dark lake the color of the bluest sky.    No groundwater flowed out of the lake or into the lake.  The trees here stood ancient and cultivated for centuries.  None were as old she or the fae.

The sun just topped the trees, and the banquet to celebrate the morning light and the beginning day lay out on the deep green grass.  Grass and fern covered knolls rose at convenient spots just high enough to provide a place to sit.  The Welsh fae, the Tylwyth Teg, lived in the open forest and the meadows.  They didn’t like anything over their heads.  They relished the open air and the open skies.  Many diverse creatures sat awaiting the blaze of the sun on the meadow and the coming of their king and queen to begin the day.  Essie could see them.  Some looked like humans, beautiful and fair with golden locks and pale petite faces.  Some appeared like humans mixed with animals: cefftk dwr and cwn annwn.  Others appeared hideous and still others like small humans with wings.  All together, all celebrating the rising sun and the new day.

Essie didn’t slow her run now.  She rushed down a forest game trail and burst out of the trees near the center of the open meadow.  She ran toward the center and creatures scattered shrieking.  Some rose into the air on bright wings.  Some jumped out of her way.  Others ran to the side and back into the forest.  Many disappeared into the morning mist rising from the lake.  A great angry and forlorn cry rose up. 

Essie, the Aos Si stood in the center of the meadow for a long moment.  She began to pace around the center until she had beaten down the grass.  She stood still and turned.  One moment, she appeared as a black wildcat—the next, she stood in the middle, a naked black-haired woman-child.  A great cry went up all around her, but she couldn’t tell if that was because of her nakedness or because they recognized her. 

Essie turned around slowly twice more to make certain they all saw her.  She spoke the language of the fae.  It sounded a bit rusty on her tongue, but she knew it, and she spoke it very sternly, “Listen to me.  I am the Aos Si, and I have come for a reckoning.” The sunlight suddenly blazed full on the center of the meadow.   A rush of morning breeze rustled in the tops of the trees.  A bright light seemed to settle at the top of Essie’s head—like a tongue of dancing flames. 


Not too many similes or metaphors—I’d like to think there are just enough to keep the images in the proper scope of the writing.  A few here and there—just a touch of magic in a very magical place and a very magical scene.  I didn’t show the tension and release or the images in that—yet.  The point is to produce tone with gentleness.  In both these scenes from Essie, the scenes themselves are full of action, but they are gentle and controlled.  There is much more action in the second scene, but in spite of the action, but tone of the scene is control.  We never get a strong feel that Essie is not in control or that she can fail.  This is the tone and strength of this scene—that’s not true of all scenes, but of this scene.    

More tomorrow.
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