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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scenes - Scene Setting, Who, a Scene Example

18 December 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, Who, a Scene 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.

This is anonther example from the novel, Sister of Darkness. This novel is on contract and should be published soon. Paul Bolang is a major character in the novel. Leroa Bolang is a major character. The children are secondary characters except Lumière. Lumière is a major character in the novel.  This is a fun scene where characters are set and introduced.  Notice that in this type of historical novel, a classical introduction can be used to both describe a character and to set them.
      Mr. Fletcher escorted them into the private area reserved for Sir Miles, Lady Jacqueline, and their family.  The furniture here was a mix of heavy British oak and leather with a more delicate frosting of Italian decoration.  Lady Jacqueline was very young, not older than twenty-four and stunningly beautiful.  She wore a dress that looked fresh from the designer racks of Paris or Rome.  She stood, and swept Mr. Fletcher out of the way.  Two elegant young ladies trailed behind her.  Lady Jacqueline stepped directly to Leora.  She spoke in only slightly Italian accented English, “Madam Bolang, I am Jacqueline, welcome to Cairo and to our home.  This is Mary, she is eighteen, and this Margaret, she is sixteen.  They are both my step daughters and here from England for the summer.”  Both young women were dressed in British style, pleasantly, and appropriately.  They had not yet taken up their stepmother’s keen taste in clothing.
      Mary was fresh faced but plain.  She stuck out her hand to Leora, “Only for the summer unless the war lasts much longer.”
      Leora touched her hand and nodded, “Summer is an unfortunate time to visit Egypt, but I am certainly glad to make your acquaintance.”
      Margaret stepped forward.  She was flushed with the heat and gaped slightly, “Madam Bolang, I am pleased to make your acquaintance also.  You are ‘the Madam Bolang?’”
      “Fortunately and unfortunately I am ‘the Madam Bolang.’”  Leora touched her hand also, “You may all call me Leora, if you wish.”
      Lady Jacqueline moved forward quickly but lightly, “I apologize, Leora.  They have not heard the end of the affair, only its beginning.”  She glared at Mary and Margaret, “You may call Leora, Madam Bolang.”
      “No offense was taken.  Perhaps I should tell you the end of it at dinner.”
      “That would be kind of you, but not at all necessary.”
      Leora nodded.
      Sir Miles entered the room.  He was a tall and imposing man.  His nose was large and his hair thinning.  He was dressed in a suit and tie.  He smiled pleasantly and spoke with an Eaton breathiness in his British English, “Now, will you introduce me, Fletcher?”
      Mr. Fletcher moved forward a step, but Lady Jacqueline spoke before him, “Miles, that is my privilege.  Madam Bolang, may I introduce my husband, Sir Miles?”
      Leora put out her hand, and Sir Miles took it gently and bent over it.  He released her hand, “How do you do?”
      Leora bent her head, “Very well, thank you.”  She pointed to her children, “Let me introduce my children to you.”  Leora put her hands on Lumière’s shoulders, “This is Lumie’re, our oldest.  She is thirteen.”
      Lumière nodded.
      “This is Robert and Jacques.  Robert is twelve and Jacques is eleven.  Finally, this is Marie.  She is ten.”
      Robert and Jacques shook hands with Sir Miles, but Marie stepped directly to Lady Jacqueline and addressed her in Italian, “Good evening, Lady Jacqueline.  I am very pleased to make your acquaintance.  Thank you so much for decorating our rooms so beautifully and inviting us to dinner.”
      Lady Jacqueline’s eyes grew very large.  Sir Miles’ face turned into an immediate scowl.  Lady Jacqueline spun on her husband, “They could not know about your rule, please don’t say anything to them.”  He cocked his head and returned to the other side of the room followed closely by Mary and Margaret.  Lady Jacqueline pulled Marie over to her chair and sat down.   She held tightly to the small girl’s hands and spoke in breathless Italian, “Your speech is so beautiful.  Where are you from in the northeast of Italy? Aviano?  Valencia?  Pordanona?  I did not know your family was Italian.”
      Marie responded, “But I am not Italian.  I am French.  I learned to speak Italian from Marie-Theresa.”
      “You never lived in Italy?”
      “I have not visited Italy, but I want to go to Rome—when I can.”
      Lady Jacqueline shook her head, tears and smiles danced in her eyes, “I would take you myself to Rome.  No one there would believe you are not from Italy.”
      Leora could only partially understand the short exchange, “I’m sorry, Lady Jacqueline.  I’m not sure what happened here.  I did not realize I should have told Marie not to speak to you in Italian.  In fact, to tell the truth, I didn’t realize she could speak Italian.”
      Lady Jacqueline opened her mouth speechless, “You didn’t know she speaks perfect Italian?  Who is Marie-Theresa?”
      Marie pursed her lips and continued in Italian, “She was a nun at my school.  She is from Italy, from Aviano.”
      “And a great language teacher she is.”
      “We just spoke together.”
      “Just spoke together.  What a gift.  Well.  You must know this sweet, Italian Marie.  You may not speak Italian in front of Sir Miles from now on.  This is his rule.  Because of the war, he had to make some decisions about the Italians in Egypt, and the complaints from the Egyptian King and the people have offended him—therefore we may not speak that language while he is in the room.  You will remember this rule?”  Jacqueline spoke every word in Italian.  She savored the language like wine.
      Marie nodded vigorously.
      “But you will speak to me every day?  Say you will.  Please say you will, Marie.”
      Marie pulled out her handkerchief and gently mopped Lady Jacqueline’s cheeks, “Don’t cry, Lady Jacqueline.  I will speak with you everyday.”  She took a quick look at Leora, “as long as Mama says that is all right.”

The strength of this scene is both a bit of pathos, some humor, and history.  The Bolang family are all fiction, the others are not.  These are real people from the past.  These scenes set the scene and the characters for a large portion of the novel.  The history and the people of this time and place.

This example is a very advanced scene with many connections and important settings for the novel.

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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