My Favorites

Friday, June 29, 2018

Writing - part x539, Developing Skills, Marketing Materials, Type and Length

29 June 2018, Writing - part x539, Developing Skills, Marketing Materials, Type and Length

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment.  I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher.  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 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.  The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.  
Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective.  I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter
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 30:  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 31:  TBD 

Here is the scene development outline:

1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker
Today:  Time again to look at marketing materials.  I just finished a new novel—actually, I finished it a few weeks ago, but I’ve been working on the marketing materials.  I always develop the specific materials first, then the condensed materials for my currently defunct publisher, and then the cover.  You can see above, I made a proposed cover. I haven’t put any of this information on the internet yet, but I’m building up to that. 

Here is my proposed cover:
Cover Proposal

Marketing materials are a must.  I’ll be straight up with you.  I know most people have not completed their novels.  Some of you might have.  You might be still working on your editing and proofing.  You might be still perfecting your novel.  All of that is important, but none of it matters if you don’t have a plan for marketing your work.  Marketing means you have some plan and know what a publisher might want to know about you and your work.  What you need is a format for your marketing materials, and here it is.

Title of Work:

Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective

Author(s) Name:

L. D. Alford

Type: Either Screenplay or Book


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

108,475 words

Type and length:  the publishing company I was working with worked with novelists and screenplay writers.  As novelists, we are mostly interested in writing books, but I will mention that writing screenplays is a particular art in itself.  I am not a screenplay writer, and I know there are details about writing a screen play that are much different than writing a novel.  I’d like to believe that writing a good novel makes it easy to produce a screenplay from that novel.  The reason is that a screenplay is all about showing and never telling. 

Length is a little more involved.  Length of novels is measured in number of words.  Here is an official list by work for the Nebula awards:

Word count
40,000 words or over
17,500 to 39,999 words
7,500 to 17,499 words
under 7,500 words

This is only part of the story.  A quick search will find that many publishers are looking for a specific length based on genre.  Romance and Mystery fiction are typically shorter works in the 60,000 to 90,000 word range.  National novel writing month defines a novel as 50,000 words.  In my opinion a novel should be at least 60,000 words.  I’ll state it here:

Novel minimum length: 60,000 words.

What about maximum length?  There is no real guide to maximum.  The longest legitimate novel in the English language is Atlas Shrugged and it is 1,000,000 (one million) words long.  Ayn Rand’s novel is wonderful and a gift to humanity, but that’s just too long.  The novel does hold your attention, entertain you, and it’s a great novel.

If one million words is way too long what is too long?  I’ll get right to it.  Most authors will recommend to aim for 100,000 words.  I’ll put to you that much over 100,000 is too long.  A little over is reasonable.  Then the question is: what is reasonable.  Don’t go over about 125,000 words.  If you are much over that, break the novel into two.  This happened to me.

I intended my Ghost Ship Chronicles to be a single novel.  As I was writing, the novel grew and grew.  Eventually, it reached the limit and I broke it into two novels: 79,000 and 70,000 words.  The novel continued into two other 100,000 word works. 

As I’ve matured as a writer, I’ve focused on my writing such that I can easily produce 100,000 word novels.  I accomplish this in a rather methodical method.  I aim to write 20, 5,000 word chapters.  This is easy for me because, in Word a 20 page chapter in double spaced sized 12 font is about 5,000 words.  I write about 20 pages in a chapter for about 20 chapters, and my novels end up about 100,000 words.  This works for me, but won’t work for everyone.  I simply provide it as a goal. 

This novel worked out perfectly—its length is just a little over 100,000 words and well under 125,000 words.  For me, that is perfect.  It provides the perfect bang for the reader’s buck.  I think it is entertaining enough for any reader and long enough to make them happy and yet long for more.  That is my goal.      

Keywords and Market Focus:


Author Bio: Approximately 120 words
Synopsis:  Approximately 500 Words
Concept of the Work:  Approximately 250 Words
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.
Reviewer’s quotes.
What I will do is go through each step and give you my answers based on my latest novel.  I did leave the top parts filled. 

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