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Thursday, December 9, 2010

A New Novel, Part 67 Scene Setting beginning of Chapter 7

Okay, okay, I know I usually give you more than a paragraph.  I'm not being stingy--this is the beginning of a chapter and there is first the scene setting for the chapter and the details that are necessary for the reader.  In other words, in one paragraph I will set the scene, introduce the chapter, and foreshadow a lot of events.  So here it is.  Pay attention. 

Natalya woke Aksinya in the early morning.  She served her tea, dressed her in the uniform of Sacré Coeur, and arranged her hair.  Aksinya fit very primly into her clothing.  The severe uniform of Sacré Coeur didn’t improve her figure at all.  The cut made her look more boyish than usual.  Her hair simply turned her features from those of a maiden to those of a lovely boy.  Natalya carefully steered her away from the mirrors in their room and bath.  Natalya, on the other hand, appeared like a especially proper and beautiful young woman.  Her figure was very evident even in the unflattering uniform.  Natalya put on her baggy sweater to cover her curves—she hoped Aksinya wouldn’t notice.

Scene setting means the writer tells us where, when, who, what, and how.  Not necessarily in any particular order.  I spent the whole of the last chapter setting the place for you, the where.  We start with when, early morning, and notice, Natalya woke Aksinya.  I don't tell you, but can't you imagine Natalya already woke very early to prepare herself, then woke Aksinya.  The where is in the second sentence, Sacré Coeur, you knew this from the waking, but this little bit reminds you of a couple of things: first, remember the tea preparation in the room and second, the uniform?  These little things are intended to reset the scene for you.  This is all the where.  So we have the when and the where.  The who is right at the beginning: Aksinya and Natalya.  The what is that they are preparing for school  I don't tell you that--I know you can put it together.  Then the how--the how is what wraps everything together.  You see, I am really showing you the how from the beginning.  It is the how that Natalya prepares Aksinya for school, but in that short how--two whole sentences, I already showed you the entire scene and I set the players in it.  This is scene setting.  This is exactly how it is supposed to be done and should and must be done especially at the beginning of a new scene.  Now let's set the chapter.

To set a chapter, the author needs to put into play the introductory events or ideas that foreshadow at least some parts of it.  The beginning is in the setting of the scene, but I begin to set the chapter before that is done.  Look at the last part of the second sentence--and arranged her hair.  We can't ever get away from Aksinya's hair.  The hair is the image or symbol of her contract to the demon.  She can't be allowed to forget and neither can you.  You know already, from what I revealed in the scene setting, that this chapter will be about the school.  It is all domestic, but then to the point.

Aksinya's clothing.  This is obviously an image for the chapter--how she fits into the school.  Look at the description.  She fit primly because Natalya did the fitting, but it makes Aksinya look like a boy and her hair doesn't help anything.  This is a definite foreshadowing.  Kind Natalya steers Aksinya away from the mirrors.  Remember Aksinya's pain and the mirrors before.  Aksinya, we know keeps away from mirrors because of how she perceives her lack of beauty.  Natalya gets it.  Then we get to Natalya.

Aksinya never picks up on Natalya's evident beauty, but we do.  Aksinya, as a true aristocrat doesn't notice many things like this, but we see it because I show it to you.  Natalya goes out of her way to make certain that Aksinya doesn't notice.  We aren't certain Aksinya would ever notice such a thing--especially at this point.

Still, here we are, the chapter introduction in a nutshell.  Aksinya should fit into the school as well as she fits the uniform, and Natalya will try to fit and will stand out anyway.  Natalya will do anything to help Aksinya, but we knew that already.  I'm not going to reveal the foreshadowing at this point, let's let that be a surprise, shall we, but you might guess at a little.  There are lots of juicy hints. 

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