My Favorites

Friday, November 9, 2012

Scenes - Scene Setting, Time in a Bottle

9 November 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, Time in a Bottle

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.

I've tried to show that setting the time in a scene is always necessary. The way you might go about that type of scene setting might differ according to the type of novel, but it must still be a priority in setting the scene.

In historical novels, we've seen the time must be completely encapsulated in the scenes. For a historical novel, you must incorporate historical markers as well as the specific of time in your scene setting...and all the markers and time needs to add up. In a novel where time is relative (scene to scene), you might get away with some of the time sequence out of order slightly. This ambivalence can work well in a novel (as long as you don't confuse your readers). On the other hand, you can't have historical events out of order in a historical novel. The historical events are themselves markers for time in the scenes.

I mentioned before, I like to put the date and place at the top of each chapter. This makes the time setting self evident to the reader. Time can and must still be set in the scenes, but the reader has markers he can't miss at every 20 page (or so) increment. You can't get much more specific than that.

As a creative exercise, why don't you try to write a scene setting for the when. Start with the broad date (month and year) or season and year. Then drill down into the day of the week and hour of the day. You don't have to follow any specific order. Just make it clear to the reader.

So, how to set the time in the scene. I'll get to more of that 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,

No comments:

Post a Comment