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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scenes - Scene Setting, yet more Place

21 November 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, yet 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.

Yesterday, the setting of the place s as simple as placing the protagonist on a certain street in Boston.  That defined the city and a street in the city.  It also placed the state and country.  Since the novel was historical and about the earth, those were also set.

It is not enough to set these, however.  You need to also define things to a greater level.  Taking the example from the end of Aksinya:

Aksinya spotted Saint John the Baptizer Greek Orthodox Church across the street and started counting the buildings down from it.

She and Dobrushin had been in Boston for a little over four years.  They were delightful years.  She already wondered what she would do to seduce him tonight—it had been two days already since the last time.  He was already a partner at the law firm.  Everyone in the firm knew he was married, but Aksinya rarely showed her face there.  Dobrushushka begged off officially because of her schooling.  That was a good thing, she didn’t need notoriety.  She didn’t want her Dobrushushka to lose this job.
Aksinya halted when her counting reached the correct house number and glanced at the building.  She stopped skipping and walked carefully up the stairs in front.  The sign was right beside the door: Sacred Heart of Christ, Russian Orthodox Seminary for Young Women and Girls.

Here you can see how I've brought the place down another level to the actual buildings.  If you go to Boston and Union Park, you will find this Church and these buildings.  You will also find a school (in the past).  The buildings are historical, but the school is not.  I give you a real place (this is how all my historical novels are).  We moved down from the street level to the house level.  You could find these buildings and this place in the real world.

Notice, I also gave an example of time setting.  The entire second paragraph helps set the time in more than one way.  The point is that this scene is set four years after the year Aksinya and Dobrushin were married.  I also give you some scene setting information about Aksinya and Dobrushin.  We will get to this later, but for now, we are at the house level.  We need to get lower.  We will, 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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