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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Scenes - Scene Setting, more Place

20 November 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, more Place

Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, 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 beginning with

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

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.

A scene outline is a means of writing a novel where each scene follows the other with a scene input from the previous scene and a scene output that leads to the next scene. The scenes don't necessarily have to follow directly in time and place, however they generally follow the storyline of the protagonist.

A storyline outline is a means of writing a novel where the author develops a scene outline for more than one character and bases the plot on one or more of these storyline scenes. This allows the scenes to focus on more than the protagonist. This is a very difficult means of writing. There is a strong chance of confusing your readers.

Whether you write with a scene outline or a storyline outline, you must properly develop your scenes. All novels are developed from scenes and each scene has a design similar to a novel. Every successful novel has the following basic parts:

1. The beginning
2. The rising action
3. The Climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement

Every scene has these parts:

1. The setting (where, what, who, when, how)
2. The connection (input)
3. The tension development
4. The release
5. The output

There are lots of approaches to scene setting. That means there are about a million plus ways you can set a scene. The main point is you have to clearly get across the where, when, who, what, and how.

In setting the place in a scene, I'll give you that that information is as varied as time.  For example, time is about year, month, week, day, hour, minute, and second.  An author needs to get to the appropriate detail for the time.  Likewise, place is galaxy, universe, solar system, planet, continent, country, city, street, house, room, and place in room. 

For most novels, we can settle on earth, but the rest of the information is part of the scene setting.  You don't need to give us an address, but you need to be clear about the place.  For example, once I set the scene for Aksinya  in Austria, I don't need to tell you again the country of the scenes.  On the other hand, when the novel moves in the scene to America, at the end, I must set the scene for you.  Here is that setting:

Aksinya swung off the streetcar and skipped down the Union Park in Boston.  She wore a tweed dress and a jaunty tweed cap.  She carried a leather briefcase her Dobrushushka had given her at her graduation only a month before.  It reminded her of the briefcase she owned when she attended Sacré Coeur, but she never remembered carrying that one herself.  She was very proud of this briefcase—it held her diploma in linguistics and teaching from Radcliffe College.  Radcliffe was one of the few woman’s college she could attend since all the Catholic ones excluded her.  She had mostly escaped notoriety, but still she and Dobrushushka attended a very small Russian Orthodox Church near his office. 

This is how I suggest you set the place in a novel.  Notice, the place is Union Park in Boston.  I don't need to tell you much more.  Union Park is a street in Boston and Boston is in Massachusetts in the United States of America.  I don't need to tell you the United States or Massachusetts because the place, Boston, defines itself.  If I used Boston, Maine, I would have to bring in more detail.

This is the first level of the place in a scene.  We'll dig deeper, tomorrow.

My Notes: once you have a theme, you need to begin to visualize your plot, focus your theme, and define your characters. More tomorrow.

I'll move on to basic writing exercises and creativity in the near future.

The following is a question asked by one of my readers. I'm going to address this over time: Please elaborate on scene, theme, plot, character development in a new novel, the framework, the development, order if operation, the level of detail, guidelines, rule of thumb, tricks, traps and techniques.

I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples:, and the individual novel websites:,,, http://www.thefoxshonor,

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