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Friday, December 28, 2012

Scenes - Scene Setting, Who and Where, yet another Example

28 December 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, Who and Where, yet another Example

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 another example of scene setting from the novel, Aksinya.  This is a transition within a scene.  I wanted to show it to you for two reasons:  the first is to let you see another setting of place, and the second is to show how character setting can be incorporated into conversation and description.

When they were finished, the Reverend Mother led them to the dormitory.  The long hallway down the center of the school building ran into a large set of open doors.  To the left of the opening was a small office with a split door.  On the other side, Frau Drescher sat at her desk and handled paperwork and correspondence. 
The Reverend Mother rapped on the top of the door.  She changed back to German, “Frau Drescher, we are ready to begin our tour of the dormitory.”
Frau Drescher frowned then tried unsuccessfully to turn the frown into a smile.  She paused a moment too long, then stood abruptly.  She came to the door, opened it, and stepped out.  She spoke intentionally in exaggeratedly enunciated German, “If you please, Countess, follow me.”
Aksinya twisted her lips in a grimace and replied in quiet but finely articulated German, “I will be pleased to Frau Drescher.”
Frau Drescher paused again and her mouth rotated up in a little line that became a frown once more.  She turned around and led them to the end of the corridor.  It went around a corner to the right and there entered a long well lighted corridor.  The corridor halted at a stairway where the archway into the courtyard bisected the lower floor.  The hallway was decorated with heavy, flowered wall paper.  The flowers were light pink and yellow roses.  Along the street side were high windows that let in much light, but still hid the street from view.  No one would be able to look outside or in.  The hallway was cold and stuffy.  Because of the crisp December weather, none of the windows were open.  On the other side of the corridor were widely spaced doors with a gas lamp on the wall between each of them.  The floor was dark oak and covered with long runners that were similar in decoration to the wall paper.  The runners were each centered on a door and ran from room center to room center.
Frau Drescher opened her hand and gestured toward the doors, “These are the chambers of our regular students.  The young ones share a room with eight together.  As they progress in age, we allow them to have four as roommates and finally, after they reach fifteen, they are allowed two to a room.  We always keep at least two to a room to prevent any impropriety.  The room we have prepared for you is our best.  We don’t have any other students of your social standing right now.  The highest is a bevy of ladies of the courts, but none of them are titled.”
Aksinya asked, “Is that unusual?”
“Not really.  Most of the titled ladies are educated and trained at home.”
Aksinya looked down, “I see.  That is so.  I was also educated at home—when I had one.”
The Freifrau stepped up, “Really, Frau Drescher, there is no reason to remind the Countess of her loss.  Her home is with us now.  It is, to my mind, better for her to gain your gymnasium’s knowledge and prepare herself for higher learning.”
Frau Drescher’s lips formed a fine line that then fell into a frown again, “What you say is very true, Freifrau Bockmann.  I was simply answering the Countess’ question.”
Aksinya tilted her head, “So she was Aunt Brunhilda.  Please Frau Drescher.  Lead on and show us our room.”
“Our room?”
“My roommate shall be the Lady Natalya.  She is much more than my lady-in-waiting.  She shall attend with me.”
Frau Drescher made a face with an expression that was completely indecipherable, “The Lady Natalya?”
Aksinya grasped Natalya’s sleeve and pulled her up beside them, “This is my lady-in-waiting, the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.  She is untitled, but a lady of the court.  She shall be my roommate and attend here with me.  She does not speak nor understand German yet.”
“You will explain all the rules to her.  I don’t wish there to be problems.”
“She is my responsibility, and I am certain your rules are the same in French as they are in German.  I shall explain them to her and be responsible to you for her as necessary.”
Frau Drescher let out a tiny laugh, “You surprise me, Countess.  I have never met a titled girl or woman who would take on such a responsibility.  Perhaps we will get along much better than I imagined.”
The Reverend Mother stepped forward, “Really, Frau Drescher, you are much too candid.”
Aksinya touched the Reverend Mother’s hand, “Please, she is not too candid.  I do realize her worries.  She thinks I shall cause her and her charges many problems.  She is concerned that I am a privileged and spoiled girl who will excite controversy and rebellion.  When she knows me better, she will see I am no better nor no worse than anyone else she is responsible for here.”
Frau Drescher’s lips made a flip-flop but never became a smile, “Yes, you are very perceptive, Countess.  I am very concerned about having a woman of your quality and standing in my dormitory.  Your own appraisal does make me feel much more comfortable…”

There is a lot of foreshadowing and important information provided in this scene and especially the description.  If you go back to the notes on the novel (previously published in this blog), you will see many of these connections.  What I want you to see here is the example of the place setting within the scene--that is the description of the dormitory and at the same time, the in depth information you learn about the primaries:  Aksinya and Natalya and the secondary Frau Drescher. 

In these paragraphs without telling and with only showing, I give you a lot of information about Frau Drescher and Aksinya.  This information is entirely within the conversation and passes as riposte and bantering.

More 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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