Writing—So You Want to be a Writer, How is a Novel Written? Novel Writing Plan, Planning the Climax of a Comedy—the Expected Unexpected, Dune

31 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  Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy, and it may not be published.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).


The resolution of a comedy and a tragedy are known from the initial scene—the author must resolve the telic flaw.  The telic flaw is revealed at the very beginning.  The expectation if that the telic flaw must be overcome by the protagonist in a comedy and the telic flaw must overcome the protagonist in a tragedy.


Since the resolution of the novel is known from the beginning, the author must figure out some means to unexpectedly resolve the telic flaw.  This is called the unexpected expected.  This is the usual progression.


  1. State the telic flaw of the protagonist and the plot in the initial scene.
  2. Reveal that the resolution of the telic flaw is impossible.
  3. Reveal incomplete or inconclusive stepping stones that might allow the resolution of the telic flaw.
  4. At the climax, the elements of the rising action that pointed to the resolution of the telic flaw all come together in a reasoned and logical fashion.


I’ll throw out another example—how about Dune.  I may not get the names correct, but I remember the plot well enough.


  1. State the telic flaw of the protagonist and the plot in the initial scene.


In the initial scene we are introduced to the main problems in the galaxy which will now intrude on the life of the protagonist, Paul Atradies.  Paul’s father is a Count on a beautiful and productive world, but for political reasons he has been ordered to the planet Dune (Arrakis), the planet of spice.  This is a very complex novel that interweaves a singular telic flaw which is the position and authority of Paul Atradies in the hierarchy of the galaxies leadership and religion.  To resolve the telic flaw, Paul must become the messiah for the leadership and the religion.


  1. Reveal that the resolution of the telic flaw is impossible.


The gom jabbar (a test of humanity) shows that Paul might be the messiah, but his position proves he can’t be the leader and messiah.  This is very deep politically in the novel.   Because Paul’s father is a count, Paul can never be the emperor or leader.  Because Paul’s mother choose to go against the will of the religious structure, Paul can never be the messiah figure.


  1. Reveal incomplete or inconclusive stepping stones that might allow the resolution of the telic flaw.


This is a basic zero to hero mixed with a discovery plot (basic plot styles).  When Paul and his family go to Dune, they are attacked and defeated by their long time enemies the Harkonens.  This makes ascension for Paul impossible.  Paul has no house, no place, no authority, no leadership, no control, no hope.  Then he meets the Freemen. Paul bands the Freemen together to use them to control the spice and to control the planet Dune.  This is still not enough to ascend to the throne or the messiah.


  1. At the climax, the elements of the rising action that pointed to the resolution of the telic flaw all come together in a reasoned and logical fashion.


In the climax, Paul provides the resolution by defeating his rival Harkonan.  He defeats the emperor.  He claims the emperor’s daughter.  He claims the messiahship and the emperorship.  Thus, in a turnabout, Paul resolves the telic flaw.


All novels are based on this plot development—at least all entertaining novels are.  That is the point of the expected unexpected.


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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