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Monday, November 19, 2012

Scenes - Scene Setting, Place

19 November 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, 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.

Here is an example of a letter from the novel, Aksinya.

Indeed, a letter came to Aksinya’s house the next day.

Ernst Franz von Taaffe
       Stal Straße
       Wien, Austria

19 December 1918

Dearest Lady Golitsyna

Thank you for attending the ballet and dinner with me last evening.  Your presence was dazzling.  You lit up my evening the same way the Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz lights up the night sky.  You made me so happy, dear Countess, I would like to see you again this weekend, and I wish to invite you next week to dinner and the grand Christmas performance of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.  We shall work out the details when I see you at Grossbock on Saturday.  Until then, 


                                                                                                                  Ernst Franz von Taaffe, heir to Graf von Taaffe

In this letter, we have a time and  I wrote about setting the time in your novels, now, I will write about setting the place.  There are some novels that are ambivalent about place--and they irritate me.  I want to know where.  I've never been to a stage play where I didn't know the setting of the place.  The place might be made up, or imaginary, but it was always a place.

Every setting must have a place.  There is no such thing as no place in a setting--ever.  Therefore, the author must set the place in each scene.  I like to use time and place markers at the beginning of my chapters.  I still place the scene independently of these markers.

Note, that in a letter, both the time and the place are set.  This should be true in every scene.  There is a unique time and place for each scene.  The author must set them for the readers.  Notice how nicely the letter does this.

Now, a letter is a middle of a scene event (usually), so the author should have set the scene independently of such an item.  We'll look at the methods to set the place 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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