Writing—So You Want to be a Writer, Connecting to the Protagonist

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  Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy, and it may not be published.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


Here is a list of genres that are reflective of the current market for modern novels:


  1. Romance
  2. Action Adventure
  3. Science Fiction
  4. Fantasy
  5. Speculative Fiction
  6. Suspense/Thriller
  7. Young Adult
  8. New Adult
  9. Horror/Paranormal/Ghost
  10. Mystery/Crime
  11. Police Procedurals
  12. Historical
  13. Westerns
  14. Family Saga
  15. Women’s Fiction
  16. Magic Realism
  17. Literary Fiction
  18. Dystopian


The genre or topic is not sufficient to write a novel, but the protagonist is.  How do we connect the genre or topic to the protagonist?  I would argue that the simplest means to bring the topic or genre together with the protagonist is to develop a protagonist who fits the stereotypes of or simply the expectations of the genre or topic audience.


Look at our not so classic but current example, Harry Potty.  Harry is a magic realism young adult genre.  The topic is magic and a magic messiah.  We are working backwards here from the plots of the novels, but this is relatively simple.


Harry must be a messiah figure who appeals to the young adult audience.  I hate to write about this in this fashion, because this isn’t the type of character I like or write.  Harry is not a clean romantic character.  I think modern young adults would love to read about classic romantic characters, but they have been given too many undeserved awards and grades to make them meaningful.  They look down on the educated and the self-reliant because they aren’t.  Thus we find the protagonist’s helper witch as the real romantic character.  Harry the messiah is bright but not brilliant, somewhat competent, but not completely competent, and not self-reliant at all.  I’m not sure this type of character really resonates even with young adults, but it is popular today.  I’ve written before, I’d write about the witch before Harry.  Harry is boring.


Now, if you notice, the system is rigged such that grades and individual success is downplayed at the same time unaccounted physical and magical skills are the center of the awards.  Harry has unaccounted and unearned skills in the magical game.  His magic and intellectual skills are mediocre, but he can mystically succeed where others can’t.


This really appeals to the young adult audience.  By this time in their lives, they realize that only through hard work can they accomplish anything worthwhile—they daydream of being great without putting forth any effort.  Harry is the mental midget messiah—this appeals to the audience and the genre.  He appeals from the standpoint of the topic—magic.  Magic brings undeserved success.


I’m getting kind of deep in this, and this character doesn’t appeal at all to me.  I don’t think most adults are taken completely in by Harry.  Adult literature still is built on the expectation of hard work to equal success.  Usually, only the successful can and do read.  The less than successful can’t and don’t—there is a reason for this.  What a young adult might consider right and meaningful, few adults would.  I think there is still hope for the romantic character in adult literature.  We’ll expand on this next.


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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