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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, even more Conversation about Magic

29 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, even more Conversation about Magic

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 the continuation of the previous scene.  The place and time setting have already been given.  The characters are set.  In this scene, we get the continuation of Aksinya and Natalya's conversation.  Specifically, Natalya complains that Aksinya is not teaching her about sorcery.  The importance of this is that the demon used this to tempt Natalya and is using it to tempt Aksinya.  Aksinya has been holding out for the reasons she gives in the conversation below.

Sister Margarethe closed the door.
Natalya waited a moment, “When will you teach me sorcery?”
Aksinya stared at her, “Nata, I don’t ever intend to teach it to you.  It does me no good and only causes me to suffer.  If you only knew…”
“I do not know.  I only see the good you do.  I don’t understand why you won’t do this for me.”
Aksinya let out a breath and glanced down, “I have already begun to teach you Latin, but I do not intend to teach you sorcery.”
“Why Latin?  What is the purpose of it?”
Aksinya mumbled again, “It is the words.”
“I’m sorry Aksinya.  I couldn’t understand you.”
“I said, it is the words.  Sorcery can be accomplished in Latin or Greek.  Latin is more common.  The words and the sounds are critical.  They must be said precisely.  If they are spoken incorrectly, at best, the enchantment will not work, at the worst, it will injure you.  The first step is to learn the language of sorcery.”
“Why Latin or Greek?”
“Although I have heard that sorcery has been successful in other languages, I have no evidence of it.  The documents of the church were first in Greek and next in Latin.  Those have been the languages of sorcery since then.”
“What of Hebrew?”
“There is a possibility of sorcery in Hebrew, but I don’t know the language, and I have never seen any books.  The books are necessary.”
“Why necessary?  You have made enchantments without your books.”
“If a single piece of the enchantment is wrong or incorrectly done, it won’t succeed.  The books give explicit directions to make it work.  If you forget, or if you make a mistake, your life or your health can be forfeit.”
“But you do it so easily.”
Aksinya took Natalya’s hands, “Listen closely to me, Nata.  I spent nearly every free moment of my childhood studying sorcery.  I had no friends.  I had no one, so I read the books.  I collected the items.  I practiced everything over and over until I perfected it.  When I began, I quickly discovered the danger.  My fingers were covered with wounds.  I have scars on my body from every failed enchantment.”
Natalya’s voice was low, “I have scars on my body and nothing to show for it.”
“I am happy to have you for my friend.  I will do anything to keep that including teaching you sorcery, but I suspect I will not be able to let you ever do it.  I will be too afraid to allow you to harm yourself.”
Nata stood, “It is late, Aksinya.  Let me prepare you for bed.”
Natalya took Aksinya’s arms and lifted her up from the chair.  Aksinya passively stood and Natalya began to remove her clothing.
Strangely, the demon didn’t visit Aksinya this night either.
This scene is about magic and how it works.  I don't tell you about magic and how it works--I allow my characters to tell you about magic and how it works.  Within the body of the conversation, we also get information about Natalya and Aksinya.  This is the point of the conversation and this is how you convey cryptic topics without telling.  Remember: show and don't tell.

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. JustTake 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:,,,, thefoxshonor, http://www.aseasonofhonor.

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