Writing—So You Want to be a Writer, Current Novel, Theme Statements to Scene Themes

20 January 2020, 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  Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy, and it may not be published.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:  In Kansas.

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.


I’m currently writing a novel that is a little difficult to explain.  It’s a reflected worldview novel so it includes fairy creatures, British mythical beings and gods, and a vampire.  It is an adult novel, but is set in a girl’s boarding school in Saint Malo France.  The initial scene was based on another novel titled Deidre: Enchantment and the School.


What I’ll do now is focus on the details of words, sentences, paragraphs, and scenes on entertainment.  I can assure you if these are right, the other parts will be too.


A novel lives or dies based on the initial scene.  This means if you don’t get the initial scene right, you won’t sell the novel to a publisher, get the novel published, sell the novel when it is published, or get another novel published.  The initial scene is so important it is worth dedicating most of any discussion on writing to the initial scene.


Eventually, you finish your exciting and action packed initial scene, and you are ready to write the rising action.  The rising action is the heart of the novel.  It is the most fun part to write and the most interesting part of most novels.  However, notice, if the initial scene is poor, poorly written, boring, or whatever, no one will ever get into your rising action.


Let’s presume we have a good initial scene, and we are ready to move forward with the rising action.  Just follow the scene development 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


If we start with the scene input from the output of the previous scene and begin writing with the setting, we have made a great beginning.  The next question is what happens in the scene.


Each scene needs to have its own theme or idea that relates back to the telic flaw and to the input and setting.  In a scene, we need to develop tension.  In the development of the scene, the tension is what will make the scene entertaining.


Scenes have themes and novels have themes.  I don’t necessarily write down the theme of most of my scenes, but I always write down a theme statement for each of my novels.  I mostly do it for you, my readers, but I also do it as a creative exercise for myself.


Novel themes are works of creativity—they are the basis of a novel.  The trick is that we need to write one.  If you can write a theme statement, theoretically, you can write the novel.  Here are the two examples of theme statements I gave you yesterday.


For novel 30:  Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.


For novel 31:  Deirdre and Sorcha are redirected to French finishing school where they discover difficult mysteries, people, and events.


My mentor, Roz Young, thought theme statements were critical tools for the author.  I’m less certain they are critical tools, but I know they are important tools.  You can literally write a novel based on a theme statement like those I crafted above.


The point of the theme statement is to provide a single word statement that encapsulates a novel.  Novels, of course, are too complex for a single statement to ever completely explain the plot or the overall story line.  In addition, I wrote before, a single word will never do to explain the theme of any novel.


The theme statement answers this question: what is the theme?  A theme is not a plot.  A theme is not a storyline.  A theme is not a plotline.  A theme is not a story arch.  A theme is a statement that captures the essence of the feel or movement of a novel.  I use the word movement intentionally—think of the movement of a symphony.  Some might imagine that a single word like allegro, andante, largo, and all, might adequately describe the movement of a symphony.  I can assure you, that single word might describe the speed and somberness of the piece, but no one could ever write a symphony movement based simply on one of these descriptive words, just as no one could ever write a novel based on a single word like love, hate, jealousy, anger, or any other single word.  What you require for a theme is a statement that conveys the movement of the novel.


This is why I wrote, setting, protagonist, antagonist, action word, and telic flaw.  These give you a potential theme.


The most important thing for the scene is developing the entertainment in the scene.


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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