Writing—So You Want to be a Writer, Current Novel, Writing Well, Dialog

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  Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy, and it may not be published.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


I’ve been looking at scenes and especially themes for scenes and themes for novels.  The point of all of this is entertainment.  The question now is how to develop a novel length idea—this is the ultimate question I’ve been trying to help you with.


Below is the question for the current novel I’m writing.


What would happen if a royal heir was banished from England for having a supernatural heritage and kept imprisoned in a convent was released in the modern era?


Here is the theme statement:


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


You can see there are real differences between the question and the theme statement.  I really can’t show you how to write a question per se.  The question is just a question.  It’s directly related to the plot.  I can show you how to write a theme statement.


The theme statement sets you up to write the initial scene, but here is where real creativity must prevail.  The initial scene more than any other scene in a novel is the most important and creative.  I always start the creation of my novels, now, with an initial scene.


I want to move back to writing about showing and not telling.  The reason is that a friend asked me to review a novel another friend had given him.  The first party had written a novel, likely his first, and had published it, obviously self-published, and wanted reviews.  This is all well and good.  The second party, started the novel, but found it “not his cup of tea.”  I like reviewing novels and said I would.  I want to pass on to you what I found.  I will not mention the novel or the author, and I will not reveal anything that might give away the novel or its author.


Show and don’t tell.

Omniscient voice is poop.

Only write what the characters saw, tasted, felt, smelled, heard, said, or any action.

Identity is a problem.

Don’t tell.

It’s all about dialog.

Perfect tense can be a problem.

It’s all about the senses.

Don’t be boring.

Eating is living and dialog.

Creativity and senses.

Start with scene setting.

Make it sense setting.



If you visualize and use your imagination, this will help you to show and will prevent you from stupidity.  In fact, your readers are using their imaginations—that’s why they will catch your telling and mistakes because they do want and expect the suspension of disbelief.


Dialog is the major component of modern literature.  I’ve written before, you really can’t tell while writing dialog, but the author whose book I’m reviewing proved that isn’t so.  I would have said it is impossible to tell in dialog, but if you suddenly transition to the perfect past tense, well I guess you can even tell in dialog.


I do know this—inexperienced writers can really screw up dialog.  I know one of the most common complaints I hear from inexperienced writers is that their dialog sounds contrived, and it really does.  I’ve tried to give you some rules and some ideas to prevent this.  I know what really causes good dialog to sound contrived.  Good dialog can be fixed with a little helpful editing—poor dialog can’t ever be fixed.  If you don’t know what I mean, you haven’t written enough.  The real problem with dialog is making it sound like real actual human people spoke it.  I’ve written literally millions of words of dialog, and I wish I could help you fix yours in a simple and easy way, but I can’t and you can’t.  You just have to write and write and write until you catch the clue.  Perhaps we can talk about ways dialog becomes really bad.  I’ll try.


I’ll take the time to brainstorm a little since I have the evidence in hand, so to speak—the author I’m reviewing.  Here’s some of the worse:


  1. The smarmy use of pet names or over use of tags. The same but different.
  2. Suddenly introducing a subject that is completely off the wall or unexpected.
  3. Suddenly ending the conversation just when it is getting good.
  4. Suddenly leaping to an unbelievable concept, idea, or conclusion in a dialog, and everyone agrees.
  5. Smarmy and clichéd ways of speaking or ways of addressing people.
  6. Smarmy and clichéd presumptions of human interaction.
  7. Characters speaking and you wonder exactly what they are saying.
  8. Infantile character interactions and speech.
  9. Unreasonable or illogical emotions, actions, or words.
  10. Unbelievable presumptions or conclusions.
  11. Speakers speaking across one another unintentionally—characters unintentionally not seeming to correctly interact.
  12. Characters acting entirely out of character the moment they begin speaking in dialog.
  13. Characters acting out of their developed character no matter the circumstances.
  14. Lack of the perception of common human norms in dialog.


I’m sure there are more.  What I’ll do is try to write you an example of each of these and then show you how I would fix them.  This might be a difficult assignment, but I’m game.


The point is show and don’t tell.


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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