Writing—Tension and Release, Specific Plot Elements

5 November 2017, this blog is about writing in scenes.  I’m focusing on the tools to build scenes.  I’ll leave up the parts of a novel because I think this is an important picture for any novelist.  I’m writing about how to begin and write a novel.

  1. The initial scene
  2. The rising action
  3. The Climax
  4. The falling action
  5. The dénouement

Announcement:   Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy.  Ancient Light includes Aegypt, Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness.  If you are interested in historical/suspense literature, please give my novels a try.  You can read about them at http://www.ancientlight.com.  I’ll keep you updated.

Today’s Blog: The skill of using language comes from the ability to put together figures of speech that act as symbols in writing.

Short digression: back in the USA.

Here are my rules of writing:

  1. Entertain your readers.
  2. Don’t confuse 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.

  1. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.


Creativity is the extrapolation of older ideas to form new ones or to present old ideas in a new form. It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect).  Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.

Scene development:

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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


First step of writing—enjoy writing. Writing is a chore—especially if you don’t know what you are doing, and you don’t know where you are going. Let me help you with that.


Now, with these basics: a protagonist, a telic flaw, an antagonist, and optionally, a protagonist’s helper, you can develop a plot. Very simply, the plot is the resolution of the telic flaw of the protagonist. The novel is also the revelation of the protagonist that leads to the telic flaw resolution.


Tension and Release, we have the input of the scene from the previous scene or as the initial scene. Setting, input, output, tension and release, these four elements allow us to write an entertaining and focused scene that takes into consideration the plot and climax of the novel.


Tension and release is the mini-rising action and mini-climax in a scene. A scene may have one or more mini-climaxes. I turn setting elements into creative elements in the scene to build tension and then eventually release. To actually understand tension and release, you must start with the setting elements.


Setting elements are anything that begins the scene on the stage of the novel. I started with three characters and here they are:


Protagonist: a detective in a crime mystery. She is young, smart, tricky, and has a child-like face. Let’s also add that she smokes John Player Specials like a chimney and drinks Guinness at every meal including breakfast. Otherwise, she puts on an act like a dandified Lady.


The Scotland Yard inspector who is actually the official on the case is a stuck up Oxford type who does use unorthodox policing methods but would never be caught doing them.


His assistant is a tough middle aged woman who speaks with a relatively high middle class London accent and is a stickler for police and gentlemanly decorum.


Plot devices, are basic plot designs in writing that an author uses to produce entertainment in a scene. Plot devices are creative elements. Each scene may incorporate one or more plot devices at least one of which must relate to the telic flaw and the climax.


I’ll write about this because it is one of my favorite types of scenes or scene developments. I like to take unusual or unique plot concepts from real life and turn them into entire scenes. For example, yesterday I wrote a scene using a round of golf as the unique plot idea. I interjected dialog between the participants, like one does when one plays golf, to allow the projection of information in the scene—and of course, the revelation of the protagonist. In this particular plot, the protagonist is a good golfer, the round of golf just naturally follows.


As an author, this allows me to record a unique human event, golf, in a fictional environment. The setting is a real place and a real golf course. The rules of golf are set in place—deviations can always be fun. The characters enjoy their play and bet on the round. The end result is a scene that is historically relevant, entertaining, and forwards the plot.


I do this all the time with my scenes. I’ve presented an Orthodox wedding, Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Masses, Orthodox Baptism, military dining outs, military dining ins, other military dining events, judicial legal courts, and shooting competitions to name a few. In every case, my point is to provide an entertaining scene, and at the same time, give my readers a taste of an event they might never have experienced. All of these events come from the real world and my experiences. This is also how an author interjects historical reality into a scene—experience and history.


The next step will be settings, items, and finally plot devices.


I’ll write more tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site www.ldalford.com/, 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

About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and 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, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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