Writing—So You Want to be a Writer, How is a Novel Written? My Novel Writing Plan, Rising Action, Deus ex Machina, and Sequential Scenes

19 July 2018, 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:   I need a new publisher.  Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy, and it may not be published.  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.


How do we gain the skills to write well?  Let’s begin with reading.  Reading allows us to understand the following:


  1. What a novel is.
  2. How a novel is constructed.
  3. How a novel is entertaining.
  4. How a novel is written.
  5. How novels have evolved.
  6. Different genre in novels.


If we understand what makes a novel entertaining, we can move on to how a novel is written.


This idea incorporates significant concepts about writing.  First of all, the author must be a skilled reader.  Second, the author must be a skilled writer.  Third, the author must have an idea.  Forth, the author must have the discipline to write a novel.


The next step is the discipline to write.  Part of that is motivation to write.  My motivation comes with a creative idea.


So, this is what I need to write about again for you: scenes and the writing plan for a novel.  Novels are written in scenes.  Therefore, if you want to write a novel, you need to be able to write good scenes, and you need a plan to write your novel’s scenes.


This is a scene outline:

  1. The initial scene.
  2. The rising action scenes.
  3. The climax scene.
  4. The falling action scene(s).
  5. The dénouement scene(s).


If you fully realize, the rising action scenes provide the necessary revelation of the protagonist and specifically the resolution of each element that leads to the telic flaw resolution.  This gets very complicated—let’s try to figure out how this might work.


I write and I recommend writing using sequential scenes.  I’ll use Blue Rose Enchantment and the Detective as an example.


  1. Has your protagonist ever needed a certain skill to solve a particularly difficult plot problem?
  2. Have you needed a critical connection or an important event to precede another event in the plot?
  3. How about a particularly fateful encounter or meeting to prevent a Deus ex Machina.
  4. In fact, how about them Deus ex—ever had a situation appear to be one or tried to get rid of one?


One of the most dangerous and dreadful problems in many newbie writers is the Deus ex Machina.  A Deus ex Machina is the Greek term for a “god machine.”  Many early ancient Greek plays resolved the telic flaw by having the god come down and fix all the problems—usually by killing the protagonist and sometimes by killing everyone else who mattered.  The Greeks, at first, thought this was a cute means of resolving the telic flaw—after a while, and a few great playwrights, they discovered that the “god machine” wasn’t that clever after all.  The god machine, by the way, refers to a crane that brought the god down onto the center of the stage from the roof.


So, the Greeks decided the Deus ex Machina was a bad thing in literature.  Today, a Deus ex Machina refers to any improbable or nearly impossible event, meeting, circumstance, or happenstance that occurs to resolve any plot issue or dilemma.  Let me give you a little rule of thumb.  Most novel’s initial scenes are based on a Deus ex Machina.  Usually, some kind of happenstance is the reason for the entire novel to begin.  Thus, in Harry Potty, Harry somehow evades the murderous curse that kills his mother and father and a bunch of other people.  This is an improbable or near impossible happenstance.  The rest of the novels are all about explaining this Deus ex.  Look at almost any and every novel—they begin with some unusual and usually inexplicable occurrence which then becomes the basis for the entire plot.  In A Little Princess, Sara Crew happens to go to Miss Minchin’s academy.  If she had gone to almost any other boarding school and her father had not lost his funds, there would be no plot for the novel.  In Anne of Green Gables if Anne had gone to almost any other family, both her trials and her successes would not have been the same.  If you remember, her original family worked her nearly to death.  The author didn’t make as much of this as she could and should have.  Jonny Rico in Starship Troopers is encouraged to join the Space Marines because of his teacher.  In Ring World possibly the most obvious Deus ex in modern literature—the protagonist wins a lottery to go on a spaceship.  Look for the improbable and the nearly impossible in literature—this is the precursor to the novel plot.


In my novels, I can point out numerous singular improbable or nearly impossible initial events that produce the initial scene.  In Essie, the Aos Si happens to break into Mrs. Lyons pantry.  In Lilly, Lilly is helped by Dane when she is caught using another customer’s password to buy food.  In Blue Rose, Azure happens to meet Lachlann at a garden party.  And on and on and on—this is the means to start almost any novel.


As a general rule, you may have one Deus ex as the starter for your novel, but no more after that.


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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