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Monday, January 18, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 647, Conversation Inflections of the Silent or Spoken Voice Tools for Developing Tone Q and A

18 January 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 647, Conversation Inflections of the Silent or Spoken Voice 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.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

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?

The inflections of the silent or spoken voice as tools to develop tone.  The silent or spoken voice has two levels of play in writing.  The first is conversation and the second is narration.  When I write “narration” I don’t mean the omniscient voice of the narrator.  Narration is everything that isn’t conversation.  I need to clarify because I just read a writing book that defines narration as the voice of the author. 


In conversation, the silent and spoken voice means times when characters are speaking and times when they are not.


In narrative, the silent and spoken voice means the times when certain obvious or not so obvious descriptions or statements are not made.


I added a rule (4a) to my rules for writing.  I felt like this provided a critical understanding of what to show, and what showing meant.  An author shows everything on stage in the writing.  Not everything is on stage, and the author controls explicitly what comes on stage.  The other level of this showing is conversation.


The author has even more control and power over conversation.  The author should generally report everything that is said on the stage of the novel, but think very carefully about this.  First, not everything needs to be set on the stage of the novel.  Second, the author doesn’t have to report accurately what is said—for example, she mumbled.  Third, the author can use the unspoken voice in conversation.


The question for tone isn’t just inflection of the spoken or unspoken voice, but what does the author portray on the stage of the novel.  Let’s look closely at this.  Here is an example from my yet unpublished novel, Children of Light and Darkness.


James checked his sidearm, “You still mad at me about last night?”

Kathrin’s eyes flashed at him.  James tucked away his weapon and raised his hands.

All the fight drained out of her.  She gazed out on the jungle, “It was my fault.”

“Then come on.  It will only get hotter the longer we delay.”

Kathrin bared her teeth.  She pulled her large hat around her ears and grimaced.  She was slightly sunburned, and her ears and nose received the brunt—her ears, just where her hat rested on them.  She followed James down the veranda and into the bursting sunlight.  She sped up a little and caught up with him, “Where to today?”

Listen carefully.  I never tell you what happened last night.  I give you some hints, but this event didn’t take place on the stage of the novel.  It happened before the beginning of the novel, was likely sexual in nature, and propels part of the plot at the beginning as well as through the novel.  This is an example of unspoken voice in the narrative.  The conversation steps around the issue, but there isn’t any silence of pregnant pauses—I just don’t tell you what happened.  The novel is more powerful for it—plus the reader can make a good guess.  Here is another example for the same novel.


Klava pulled a little at Kathrin’s arm, “Kathrin, what is your job?  What are you here to do?”

At that moment, Kathrin was wise enough to blank her mind.  She became slightly frantic.  She thought she should pull away from these two.  Whether they could understand her thoughts or were very sensitive, she could not tell.

Klava’s face fell, “Why won’t you tell us?”

Kathrin made a decision.  She hoped it was the right one.  She swallowed hard, “I will tell you because I trust you.”

Both Klava and Sveta’s faces brightened. 

Kathrin held them both a little tighter, “My job is to find out about you and help you decide what to do.”

In this conversation are two examples of unspoken voice.  The first is when Kathrin makes not response to Klava. The second is when Klava and Sveta make no spoken response to Kathrin.  In each case, the silence and the reactions show the response of the characters.  What I’d like to do is bring this into the POV I brought up a while ago.


To continue our discussion, I want to leave up the levels of the third person POV below.   


Third person is where it is.  Third person has the additional flexibility to allow close, not so close, far, and omniscient POV.  Here’s where things get really fun.  Example time:

Close: He touched her hand.

Not so close: The waiter saw him touch her hand.

Far: The bartender looked up and thought he saw him touch her hand.

Omniscient: Everyone knew he touched her hand.

So, a new rule of writing—the author may always describe what the audience (readers) can see.  Perhaps I should refine this rule a little.  This is true in the narrative, but conversation is a little different.  What does POV have to do with anything?
More tomorrow.
For more information, you can visit my author site, and my individual novel websites:

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