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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Scenes - Scene Setting, yet more Place

22 November 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, yet even 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, I took the place setting to the level of the house.  This is what I gave you from 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 Bostonfor 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.

I also took you to the next level.  This level is that of the actual scene.  This is the part you see on the stage at a play.  The initial setting for this scene in Aksinya is the front door to the Sacred Heart of Christ, Russian Orthodox Seminary for Young Women and Girls.  This is like the interior of a room. 

In a novel, unlike a stage play, the author can move from room to room and place to place within the same scene.  In most stage plays, the scene remains the same until a scene change.  In a novel, the scene isn't dependent on the place as much as the time. 

In this scene, Aksinya starts at the door and ends up in the house in a chair before the headmistress desk.  She has a conversation with a student and is then called into the headmistress' office.  I'd call this entire event a scene.  It could be theoretically broken into two scenes, because there is more than one tension and release event.

A scene is not limited to a single tension and release event, but a scene is defined by its tension and release events.  Perhaps I should give you the whole scene tomorrow and show you how this works.

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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