Writing—So You Want to be a Writer, How have Novels Evolved?

3 August 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 scenes
  3. The climax scene
  4. The falling action scene(s)
  5. The dénouement scene(s)


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  Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy, and it may not be published.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


Functionally, I’ve shown you how a novel is supposed to be written.  I hope this was helpful and really sank in.  Novels, once deconstructed are relatively simple—the construction is simple, but that doesn’t mean the writing or the novel itself is simple.


You can always review the scene outline for a novel, I left that as the first list on this blog.  I have it memorized.


The purpose of a novel is to entertain.  If you don’t fully understand this or believe this, I won’t take the time to make the modern argument.  I will simply refer in context to the evolution of the novel and the history of the novel.  I quote the following:

The following works of literature have each been claimed as the first novel in English.

And the following explanation:

There are multiple candidates for first novel in English partly because of ignorance of earlier works, but largely because the term novel can be defined so as to exclude earlier candidates:

  • Some critics require a novel to be wholly original and so exclude retellings like Le Morte d’Arthur.
  • Most critics distinguish between an anthology of stories with different protagonists, even if joined by common themes and milieus, and the novel (which forms a connected narrative), and so also exclude Le Morte d’Arthur.
  • Some critics distinguish between the romance (which has fantastic elements) and the novel (which is wholly realistic) and so yet again exclude Le Morte d’Arthur.
  • Some critics distinguish between the allegory (in which characters and events have political, religious or other meanings) and the novel (in which characters and events stand only for themselves) and so exclude The Pilgrim’s Progress and A Tale of a Tub.
  • Some critics require a novel to have a certain length, and so exclude Oroonoko, defining it instead as a novella.
  • Some critics distinguish between the picaresque (which has a loosely connected sequence of episodes) and the novel (which has unity of structure) and so exclude The Unfortunate Traveller.

Due to the influence of Ian Watt‘s seminal study in literary sociology, The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding (1957), Watt’s candidate, Daniel Defoe‘s Robinson Crusoe (1719), gained wide acceptance.

We have no need to boil this down any further.  I agree that Robinson Crusoe is likely the first novel in English.  That isn’t what really matters in the context of our discussion.  The question is the purpose of the novel.  If you look at the list, I specifically challenge you to find a single title that was not intended as entertainment.  Even the more erudite or churchy texts, Pilgrim’s Progress, for example were produced to entertain.  Pilgrim’s Progress was specifically written as an entertaining allegory that allowed the Puritan’s access to popular literature which is just what they did.  You have to be a neophyte in reading historical novels not to recognize the Puritans as well as the people of earlier centuries coveted any entertaining literature they could get their hands on.  Most of the writings they had access to, and could read, were Greek and Latin texts.  As English writing and access to English writing became more available as well as popular, the novel came to the forefront.


Daniel Defoe more than any other author ushered in the beginning if the age of the novel in English.  His writing literally started a new era in writing and entertainment.


Without any apologies, I can state unequivocally that novels from the beginning are about entertainment—that is their purpose and has always been their purpose.


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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