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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x145, It’s Finished, Type and Length

31 May 2017, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x145, It’s Finished, Type and Length

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:


1.      Design the initial scene

2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)

a.       Research as required

b.      Develop the initial setting

c.       Develop the characters

d.      Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)

3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)

4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)

5.      Write the climax scene

6.      Write the falling action scene(s)

7.      Write the dénouement scene

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 Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse

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 finished my 29th novel, working title School.  I’ll be providing information on the marketing materials and editing.

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.


For novel 28:  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.


For novel 29:  Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.


First, you write and write and write until you are competent and someone finally accepts one of your novels for publication. 


Second, you keep writing. 


Third, you market. 


Fourth, you keep writing with the hope your marketing and your writing will finally come to fruition. 


Fifth, you market.


Here is a list of the primary information I develop for a completed novel.  I’ll put some explanation beside the sections.  Eventually, I’ll fill them out for my newest novel.        


Title of Work:


Deirdre: Enchantment and the School


Author(s) Name:


L. D. Alford


Type: Either Screenplay or Book




This isn’t a difficult identification.  A screenplay is a very specific kind of document in fiction.  I left this in from a generic fiction marketing form.


Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays


xxx,xxx words


Let’s talk about words.  Specifically the number of words.  I like to aim for 100,000 word novels.  My published novels vary from as low as 62,000 to as high as 114,000.  A novel usually must have at least 50,000 words to be considered a novel.  Novellas run as high as 40,000 to 50,000 words.  All I know is this—too long is too long and too short is too short. 


We generally get a feel for how long a novel should be.  I aim for 100,000 words.  Sometimes my novels are longer and sometimes a little shorter.  The more experienced I become, the longer, to an extent my novels become.  As an important note, the Ghost Ship Chronicles started as a single novel, but I quickly realized it would end up much longer than 100,000 words.  I broke up the first and second novel.  The first is 80,000 words and the second about 70,000 words.  There are three other novels.  I haven’t written the fifth and supposedly final novel.  The first hasn’t sold either—oh well.  My point is this—the novel was going to obviously be longer than 100,000 words, so I broke it into logical pieces.  This is my advice to you.


Let’s look at works that are too short and those that are too long.  For some reason, I develop ideas that fit into a novel length.  I’m not sure why this happens, but it does.  The kinds of things I write about and the ideas I write about fit easily into about 100,000 words.  Perhaps it is my own experience as a reader, or I have developed a good feeling for the length of a good story.  In any case, when I start to write, the plots usually end up about 100,000 words.  The only case where this wasn’t true is Hestia, and that novel ended up about 66,000 words.  Short for me. 


I’ve noted before, I write in chapters and aim for about 20 double spaced pages per chapter.  That gives about 5,000 words per chapter.  In 20 chapters, you have a 100,000 word novel.  This is the way I write and it has been very effective for me.


How to count the words.  I have written before, I write in chapters and pull the text together into a single document as an outline.  This allows you to continue to update the chapters and then to pull the document together in an update.  I also disconnect a copy from the individual chapter files—that allows me to produce a file that I can use to search and add up the number of words.  I can do other things with it too and still protect the original files.  This is where I get my word count and then update the header of my novel.  I’ll do that next and put in the actual number of words.  To me this is an exciting part of the writing. 


Keywords and Market Focus:


Fiction, curse, sith, fae, fairy, seelie, unseelie, Sherwood Forest, Britain, United Kingdom, MI6, covert, spy, goddess, Dagda, military, training; will fascinate anyone interested in covert operations, enchantment, and the fae—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy spy, mystery, and suspense novels.




Historical Fantasy

Author Bio: Approximately 120 words

The finest entertainment in literature is an escape into a real and inviting culture—so asserts L. D. Alford, a novelist who explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know.  He builds tales that make ancient people and times real to us.  His stories uniquely explore the connections between present events, history, and the future—he combines them with threads of reality that bring fiction alive.  L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, and Air Command and Staff College.  He is widely traveled and has spent long periods in Europe, Asia, and Central America.  L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality.   


Synopsis:  Approximately 500 Words

Shiggaion Tash is a screw-up.  Not your run of the mill screw-up, rather, she is a truly royal screw-up.  From the botched experiment in her graduate class at Oxford, where she exposed all her students to a radionuclide to blowing the kneecap off her pistol range instructor at Sandhurst, Shiggaion is a screw-up.  What’s worse is Sandhurst, sent her to Military Intelligence (MI) science where she released nerve gas and sent an entire floor to hospital.  From there science sent her to section VIII, Clandestine Communications where she broadcast classified operational codes to the Britain’s enemies.  Section VIII sent her to Section V, counter-espionage reports, where she designed an organizational database system that lost all the reports.  Section V moved her on to Section VII, Economic Intelligence.  There, she dumped a load of contraband in the Thames.  Section VII pushed her into Section N, a section that exploits the contents of foreign diplomatic bags.  Shiggaion accidentally lost her identification badge inside a diplomatic pouch and caused an international incident.  Section N passed her to Section D, Political Covert Actions and Paramilitary Operations.  There, she wrecked an SUV and sent her teammates to hospital.  Finally, Section D gave her over to Hostage Rescue.  During a hostage recovery exercise Shiggaion accidently shot a hostage.  It was a laser scored exercise, but she did make a mark—someone else did too.  One of the instructors shot Shiggaion in the left buttocks with a tranq round.

Shaggaion woke strapped to a medical table with a pain in her left cheek and a drug induced headache.  She also has to go--badly.  Shiggaion can’t imagine such treatment.  Shiggaion’s cries finally provoke a response.  Sorcha Davis throws open the door, threatens Shiggaion with bodily harm, and christens her—Shiggy.  To survive, indeed to be able to relieve her bladder, and to prevent bodily harm, Shiggy must acquiesce to Sorcha’s demands and accept her new name.  She must do much more than that.  Shiggy must acknowledge and admit to all her previous lapses of judgement and take responsibility for them.

Thus begins the training of Shiggy Tash.  Sorcha dresses her, arms her (simulated weapons at first), trains her, punishes her, demeans her, and fashions her into a lady.  All for the purpose, so says Sorcha, to make Shiggy a sensual and sexy spy who can woo the hearts of men and woman.  Shiggy looks like a ditz—a very beautiful ditz after Sorcha is done, but a ditz.  Sorcha needs an intelligent ditz who doesn’t look like a dangerous person or a spy at all.  Shiggy isn’t so sure, plus there is much more to this business than simple or not so simple spying.

Sorcha tells her that they are part of Stela, an organization in British Intelligence that protects the UK from supernatural beings and events.  Shiggy doesn’t believe in the supernatural and now she must work with it—she even meets some supernatural beings.  What’s to become of Shiggy now?


Concept of the Work:  Approximately 250 Words


The concept behind Sorcha is to show a truly flawed person who initially won’t take responsibility for her actions and bad judgement.  The novel shows the transformation of a person of bad judgement, taste, and personality into a powerful and useful person.

A secondary concept in the novel is love and pursuit of love by gentlemen for a lady who isn’t used to anyone loving her and another woman who has never been loved because of her personality.    


Registration: WGA, ISBN, or Library of Congress, Write the number.



Other Information:  If you have more work, a website, anything interesting and professional, especially any awards or recognition.


Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, a matron rescues and educates the Queen of the fae.


Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer, a math genius girl gets a boyfriend and becomes a Japanese goddess.


Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire, a British agent accidentally becomes involved with a vampire.  


Khione: Enchantment and the Fox, a graduate student discovers a demigoddess in modern Boston.


Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon, a Russian princess calls a demon to protect her family.


Dana-ana: Enchantment of the Maiden, the mystery of Dana-ana Goewyn.


Hestia: Enchantment of the Hearth, the misadventures of archeologists in modern Greece.


Antebellum the mystery of a house that has been missing since the American Civil War and the girl who is called to it.


The Second Mission is a historical fiction novel about ancient Greece published in 2003 by Xulon.


Centurion published January 2008 and Aegypt also published in January 2008 are historical fiction novels from OakTara Fiction


The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox is a science fiction series published by OakTara Fiction

                The End of Honor (published, July 2008)

                The Fox’s Honor (published Oct 2008)

                A Season of Honor (published Nov 2008)


Ancient Light is a suspense series published by Broadstreet, Eleutheria, September 2014 in a three-in-one

                Aegypt (second edition published by OakTara Fiction, 2014)

                Sister of Light (published by OakTara Fiction, 2014)

                Sister of Darkness (published by OakTara Fiction, 2014)


More information is available at   


L.D. Alford has more than 40 technical papers published in international journals on flight test, military policy, flight safety, space, and cyberwar.  His military aviation writing is featured as Military Aviation Adventures on


Reviewer’s quotes.

No one would expect Shiggy Tash to be anything more than a ditz.  She’s even blond, but she may be the most dangerous person in British Intelligence—particularly to British intelligence.


Shiggy doesn’t believe in the supernatural.  She’s living in a supernatural house with supernatural guardians, and meets all kinds of supernatural beings.  Perhaps she needs to make a second appraisal.


What fun.  A failed British agent with poor judgement who happens to be a cursed warrior.  Is there any hope for Shiggy? 

1.  No more than 3 sentences about the content of your manuscript.


Shiggy Tash finally meets her match in Sorcha Davis—Sorcha has a large stick, knows Shiggy’s every thought, and has convinced the village that Shiggy is recovering from a brain injury.    


The world of British Intelligence meets the supernatural in an entertaining tale of rehabilitation, love, and spying.


Shiggy Tash is the most dangerous person in the world to British Intelligence—she happens to be a member, slightly out of control, and in need of a good trainer.      


2.  One sentence about successful works similar to yours.


Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse is a unique novel with nothing very similar—it is an idea and a theme wholly unto itself.


3.  No more than 2 sentences about yourself. (use 3rd person)


L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing uniquely explores the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive.   


Dr. Alford is a scientist and widely traveled author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality.


4.  No more than 2 sentences that include “other,” i.e. any reasons, relationships, or other factors that might make your work more attractive.


Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse continues the supernatural themes introduced in L.D. Alford’s Enchantment and Ancient Light novels.  It is a standalone novel.


Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse is exciting fiction from the celebrated author of Essie: Enchantment and the Aor Si, Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer, Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire, Khione: Enchantment and the Fox, Dana-ana: Enchantment of the Maiden, Hestia: Enchantment of the Hearth, Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon, Antebellum, Centurion, Aegypt, The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, A Season of Honor, Sister of Light, and Sister of Darkness.


I left in all the information for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.  I’ll write and put in the information for School over the next few weeks.             


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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