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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Development - Scene Setting in the Picture of the Creative Process

7 March 2012, Development - Scene Setting in the Picture of the Creative Process

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel.

I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.

Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

We have an initial description of Aksinya, the main character, and of Asmodeus, the demon.  We know about their backgrounds and history.  We have the setting in time and space.  The final element is the setting for the first scene.  With that last piece, we will have enough of the creative process complete to set the entire novel in motion.  Remember, I keep advising you as a writer to physically describe your characters and physically describe the scene setting.  I showed you examples for Aksinya and the demon.  Here is the initial scene setting from the novel Aksinya:

     The dank stone room was filled with shadows.  Every corner oozed darkness.  Within a pentagram that was encompassed by a circle stood a slight young woman.  Fat yellow beef-tallow candles marked the points of the pentagram and weakly illuminated only the area around her.  A brazier of incense filled the room with the scent of myrrh along with an underlying smell that was indeterminate, but left a taste of blood in the mouth...
      Aksinya stood in the middle of the pentagram.  She held a book in one hand, and the bodice of the dress in the other.  It kept falling away from her chest and although there was no one to see, she felt uncomfortable and underdressed when it did.  She squinted across the cellar again and focused back on the book.  She knew the words and the pictures in the book by heart.  She had memorized them long ago, but still she sought them like an anchor against the storm she was about to release.  In the dark—she hadn’t thought about how dark it would be, she could barely read the text.  Finally, she took up an extra taper from the floor and lit it from the closest candle.  She had to hold the taper in one hand and the book in the other, which almost completely revealed her chest, but that couldn’t be helped now.
Aksinya read from the book.  The words weren’t Russian, her mother tongue, and they weren’t the French of the
Russian Court
.  They weren’t the Greek their priest pounded daily into her head.  The language was Latin.  She had studied it secretly for years.  She had memorized all the Latin books she had found hidden in the unused guesthouse at the back of the estate.  With nothing else to do, she had spent every free moment teasing out the secrets of these books for just this moment.  Aksinya was tired of being nothing and being helpless.  She intended from this moment forward to never be helpless again.
     She read the ponderous Latin from her book.  The cover was black, and a pentagram was worked into the ancient leather.  The book was old, ancient.  The pages were yellowed with age.  In spite of that, the pictures and words were perfectly preserved as if time inside it had been slowed to a stop.  The words of the book were dark and evil.  Aksinya knew them well.  She knew their meanings.  She forced her lips to form them, but this wasn’t the first time she had forced her lips to make these dark words.  For years and years she spoke them.  She manipulated the world through them.  She made the world obey her with these ancient words.  She let her mind flow to the word—sorcery.  Aksinya made magic.  She had taught herself from the dark books she found, and here and now, she made the most horrible of magic.

There is more than simple description in this description.  Part of it is about Aksinya and part of it is about the times and the place (all scene setting).  This is a style and a technique for description.  This is an especially good way to integrate description in an action scene.  You get a revelation of the scene along with the action in the scene.  This is also a method to build tension.

We'll look more at the creative process in Aksinya tomorrow.

I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples:, and the individual novel websites:,,,,, and

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