Writing—So You Want to be a Writer, Cattle Car Education

15 November 2019, 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  Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy, and it may not be published.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 Wichita

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.


The current subject is how cultures and societies affect human thought and human actions.  Here is a list of potential issues.  We’ll look at them in detail:


  1. Vocabulary
  2. Ideas
  3. Social construction
  4. Culture
  5. Politics
  6. History
  7. Language
  8. Common knowledge
  9. Common sense
  10. Reflected culture
  11. Reflected history
  12. Reflected society
  13. Truth
  14. Food
  15. Money
  16. Weapons
  17. Transportation
  18. Communication
  19. Writing
  20. Education


Education may be the most important characteristic for writers.  Without education of some kind, you won’t have literacy.  Without literacy, you won’t have readers.  Perhaps, historically, I might be more accurate to write without literacy, you won’t have education or readers.  Really, education is a critical aspect of civilization, but it really isn’t what we think.  Education today is nothing like education in the past.


After education moved from memorization to read to reading to memorize, the focus of education likewise changed.


Not all that long ago, when mothers and fathers gave a basic literary and figure based (math) education to their children and then sent them to local scholars for books and supervised study, there was no cattle car education.  The parental education was direct individual and effective.  When the child was sent to a local scholar who owed a few books, the scholar assigned a book to read and study and they orally or with papers and essays tested the student.  Again, this type of study was individual, direct, and effective.  Then came universal education.


The idea of universal education isn’t necessarily a bad one—the original point was to find effectivity as well as efficiency in education.  This was such a new idea that the universities didn’t accept it for a long time.  The idea was that if teaching one child at a time was a good idea, why not many children at once.  Boarding schools and larger schools likely found this efficient.  With more students a classroom approach is.  Notice, this still isn’t very effective for small schools and for one room schools.  In any case, the idea of the schoolroom where a teacher only has to teach a single lesson to a group of students caught on.  It is indeed efficient—about effectivity.  Well, it is obviously not nearly as efficient as individual and one on one teaching.  Everyone knew this and as long as the curriculum and educational standards were high, a few loses and losers where the natural consequence.  This is cattle car learning.  Teach a class of five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, or more, some fall in the winners ranks and some fall into the failing ranks.  With universal education, you expect some losses.  Likewise, with individual education, you get some losses, but obviously much less.


Then universal education came into its own.  As long as education is about education, it is education.  When education became propaganda and the control of what citizens knew, it was something else entirely.  Now a cattle car approach is even better—for propaganda and control.  When education isn’t about education anymore, the knowledge and skills sets of those education begin to slip.  The answer isn’t more cattle car or government controlled education, but I hope you can see that.  The schools clamber for smaller classroom size (in terms of students) to provide better education, but education isn’t the point and all the king’s horses and men can’t solve this problem.


If you notice, true individual based education requires not more money, but more attention, high standards, and a focus on education.  These are things a government in the modern era can’t abide and will not abide.  The answer is a market in education where the student or parents have a say in the control and the education.


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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