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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Character Introductions

12 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Character Introductions

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.  Here is a character introduction.  These are very important secondary characters in the novel.  Dobrushin likely could be considered a primary character--he becomes the protagonist helper after Natalya.  This shows how you use character description and introductions in a scene. 

At the end of the service, the Freiherr introduced the Priests to her, “Father Makar.”  The Freiherr stumbled over the simple Russian pronunciation.  Father Makar was a short man with a very calm face.  His smile pressed through his full beard and even touched Aksinya’s heart.  The Freiherr continued, “This is the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna.”
Father Makar put his hands together, “We heard that you were in the city, Countess.  We are very pleased to greet you in our Ecclesia.”
Aksinya held her handkerchief before her lips.  The crucifix burned against her chest, “Good day, Father.”
“Are you all right, Countess?  You seem a little pale.”
“I did not get much sleep last night.  I am well enough, thank you.”
“Then please let me introduce my wife, the Matushka Ekaterina.”  He pointed at a woman who was a little shorter than he.  Her features were as pleasant as his.  Her face was round and her eyes large.  She gave an impression of youth, but her hair was gray and she wasn’t more than a decade younger than Father Makar.
Matushka Ekaterina’s voice was gentle.  She took Aksinya’s hand and curtsied, “Good day, Countess.  I hope to make your further acquaintance.”
Aksinya couldn’t imagine a person she would less like to be close to, but she simply nodded.
Father Makar waved the other priest over to them.  He was young and tall.  His hair was not gray and his face unwrinkled.  He appeared not more than thirty, but that was difficult to tell since he wore a priest’s typical beard.  The beard was a little less than full, but it seemed to fit his face.  His face was fine boned and gentle.  At that moment, his features did not appear very pleasant to Aksinya.  His mouth was set in a severe frown.  He gazed at Aksinya with unconcealed concern.  Father Makar still smiled, “This, Countess, is Father Dobrushin.  Countess, don’t let Father Dobrushin’s demeanor bother you.  He is young and still too solemn…”
Aksinya spoke from behind her handkerchief, “He does not hate me because I am a member of the aristocracy, does he?”
Father Dobrushin tried to smile, “I’m sorry for my appearance, Countess.  I do support our Russian nobility, but I felt that you were not comfortable here and that concerned me.”
“Not comfortable?” Father Makar gave Aksinya a second appraisal.  “Father Dobrushin is usually very sensitive about theses things.  Are you certain, Countess, that you are well?”
Aksinya could not smile, “Don’t concern yourself about me.  I am well and comfortable,” she lied.  “I will feel better when I have dined.  If you will excuse me?”
The priests bowed and the Matushka curtsied. 
The focus of this scene setting is the characters in the Ecclesia in Wien. The description of these characters is necessary and critical to the plot and the theme of the novel. If you read the novel, you know that Father Dobrushin is willing to give up everything for Aksinya, and he is ultimately the reason for her redemption. This is an example of how the character setting is both important in the here and now of the novel and for future events. This is why for characters, you should give 100 to 300 words of description.

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: I am awaiting for you to write a detailed installment on identifying, and targeting your audience, or, multi-layered story, for various CS Lewis did. Just a thought. Take care, and keep up the writing; I am enjoying it, and learning a lot.

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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