My Favorites

Monday, August 29, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 871, more Cigars and Scotch, Developing Conversation on the Stage of the Novel

29 August 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 871, more Cigars and Scotch, Developing Conversation on the Stage of the Novel

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, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.  

Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos SiEssie is my 26th 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 started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. 

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)


How to begin a novel.  Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea.  I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement.  Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement.  Here is an initial cut.


Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.


Let’s go back to the beginning.  I’ll use my newest novel as an example.  It’s a historical novel, and you can see the theme statement just above.  Let’s look at a novel from the standpoint of a stage play.  A novel is not a stage play or a screenplay, but the author should approach some aspects of the novel from this vantage point. 


In setting the stage of the novel follow my rules for writing 4a above:


4. Don't show (or tell) everything.

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


All conversations follow a similar development and cycle of events.  If an author is sensitive to this development and cycle, he can write more natural sounding (read realistic) conversation.  The cycle of conversation moves like this: greetings, introductions, casual words, deeper words, ending.  Let’s look at the setting for conversations.


I still need to delve into the how much a bit—I don’t think my explanation was adequate, but I’m still working on the thought.  Instead, I’ll give you an example of characters who sat down for a deep chat with cigars and Brandy this time.  This is from my Ancient Light novel which should be published soooooon… Sister of Darkness.  In this short piece, Paul has infiltrated the Vichy French Army at Marseille.  Colonel Barraud has been sitting on Paul’s orders to Berlin for a while.  Paul and Lafont need to get the Colonel out of the way or figure how to get him to give Paul his orders.  They determine to remove the Colonel.  


        Paul could not broach the subject with the Colonel for the next week.  Paul was surprised when Colonel Barraud asked him up to his office late Friday.  The sun had already dropped below the horizon.  It was turning very dark.  The troops were in their barracks or in town, the officers at their homes.  Paul knew the time had come.  He had alerted Sergeant Lafont.  This would be the moment to take care of the Colonel.  Paul carried his long knife and his sword.

        The Colonel was jovial and greeted Paul with a large glass of brandy and a cigar.  The Colonel remained standing and sat Paul in his easy chair, “You rest Major.  In spite of what Lisette says, I know you deserve it.

        Paul took a drag on the cigar—it was pleasant and strong, a Partagas.

        The Colonel leaned out of the window.  Late October, the air was still warm, but cooling.  He let out a mouthful of smoke. 

        Paul tensed himself.  A fall, an accident.  He had planned to give the Colonel a little push and that would take care of everything.  Sergeant Lafont was stationed in the court below.  He would provide the alibi, and their mission could take the next planned step.

        The Colonel turned around before Paul could make up his mind.  Paul cursed himself under his breath.

        “You know, Paul, it’s been only three months.  You have made great friends and had great success here.   The training is the best it has been.  My officers run their units like clockwork.  Even the Germans have remarked on the quality of our forces here.  We are the best on the coast and maybe the best in Vichy.  It’s all because of you.  You accomplished everything I set you to.  I couldn’t have asked more from you, or from your darling Lisette.  My wife went from calling her a whore to calling her a friend—what a change, eh.”  His shoulders lifted and he took a long drag on his cigar.  “Good cigar, no?”

        “Great cigar,” Paul’s voice came out of the now fully shadowed room.  If only he would turn back to the window.  Paul readied his knife—in case.  He bunched his muscles and prepared himself to spring.

        “You made everything happen just as I requested, and you wisely planned.  Now I have something I must tell you that saddens me immensely.  You are the best officer I have worked with in my entire career.  I must admit, I tried to downplay your capabilities in my reports.  Headquarters and the Germans saw right through me.  They observed you at the dinner Lisette put on for me.  After that, I couldn’t hide you much longer from them.  I tried to keep you out of their sight, and I ended up putting you where they saw you shine.”  He turned back around to the window again.

        Now or never Paul thought, he began to move, a single fluid motion.

        “I have your orders for promotion and transfer to Germany here.”

        Paul stopped.  He slowly eased himself back into the chair and quietly picked up his cigar and glass.

        “Did you say something, Paul?”

        “No sir, just slightly shocked that they would want me in Germany.”

        “Not just Germany, you have been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to SS headquarters in Berlin.  That is Hitler’s headquarters.”

        “Yes, I understand.”  Paul thanked God that he had not had to kill the Colonel.

        The Colonel smiled around his cigar, “I will miss you, Paul.  I really don’t want to let you go, but I must.  My headquarters and the Germans are bothering me now about the whole affair.  I could only sit on the orders so long—commander’s prerogative.”

        “I see.  What will my assignment be?”

        “They have placed you under the international liaison branch as the main coordinator with the Légion des Volontaires Français contre le Bolchévisme.  They are the French volunteers fighting for the Reich.  You will integrate their operations into those of the German Armies.  I think you will find the work boring and unfulfilling.  I hope then you will return.  But until that time, I must give you your orders and bid you au revoir, although I hope it doesn’t mean adieu.”

        The Colonel stepped across the darkened room and handed Paul his orders and papers.  He clasped Paul’s hand, “Back to your Lisette, my friend.  She will surely be expecting you—this is Friday night.”

        “Thank you, mon colonel.”

        Paul left Fort Saint Nickolas and went home to tell Lisette the welcome news.


This is a deep conversation.  This is also a conversation filled with secrets and tension and release.  The Colonel has no idea how close he is to death.  Paul likes the man and has no desire to kill him, but he has a mission, and that mission is more important than the life of a single man.  Paul’s work will potentially change the outcome of World War Two.  That is, at the time, the Allies had no idea if they would win or lose.  Paul and their group must reach Berlin and the bowels of the Third Reich.  You can see how important this is.  You can also see how the conversation moves and the different levels of the conversation.  This scene is from a contracted novel.  You can also see the beginning and the end of the conversation.


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

No comments:

Post a Comment