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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Example

6 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, 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 scene setting at the beginning of a chapter.  This shows how simple and sparse the setting needs to be.  Note, time is set first and it is moving time.  The place is both the school and the house.  This part of the scene also moves time forward and is a good example of that. 

The week continued for Aksinya and Natalya without great problems.  The demon led them every night to the house across the street.  As yet, he made no other demands on Aksinya.  The cellar workroom remained unused for now.  The demon didn’t even ask Aksinya to go down to it again. 
Chapel was a daily chore.  With Natalya beside her, Aksinya could endure it, but it was not pleasant for her.  Aksinya spent her time in the evenings working with Natalya on her German.  Aksinya’s work in her classes suffered, but the sisters didn’t seem to expect much from a countess anyway.  They didn’t praise her, but they didn’t berate her either.  Only Sister Margarethe, in German class, seemed to show Aksinya any special attention.  No matter what Aksinya did, Sister Margarethe praised her.  Aksinya thought, perhaps her German was truly improving because she worked with Natalya so much.
On Friday afternoon, Freiherr Bockmann’s coupe, the covered carriage, came for Aksinya and Natalya.  The Freifrau Bockmann herself sat in the coupe.  For the weekend, Aksinya and Natalya had taken clothing from the house across the street.  They wore something other than their Sacré Coeur uniforms now.  Aksinya was dressed like a countess, and Natalya like a lady-in-waiting.  Both of their jewelry was much more elegant than that which would have been expected any student to wear.
Freifrau Bockmann’s eyes widened when she saw them.  She descended from the coupe and curtsied to Aksinya.  Then, she greeted both the girls with a kiss.  The Reverend Mother stepped out of the school to see them off.  Frau Drescher stood as an after thought in the shadows near the gymnasium’s door.
The Reverend Mother curtsied to Freifrau Bockmann.  It was a deep curtsy that included Aksinya, “Freifrau Bockmann, the Countess and Lady Natalya have started well.  We are glad you decided to take them under your wing for their social training during the weekends.”
Freifrau Bockmann was effusive, “Thank you, Reverend Mother.  I will return them Sunday evening.  Please don’t expect them for dinner.”
“Yes, Freifrau Bockmann.” 
With the driver’s help, they climbed into the carriage.  After they were inside, Freifrau Bockmann tapped the ceiling of the coupe with the top of her cane and the driver started the horses moving.
Freifrau Bockmann gazed at her two charges.  The one had a boyish figure and a sharp face.  It was so typically Russian it almost hurt to look at her.  Her features were not very lovely, but her clothing fit her perfectly and she was dressed exquisitely.  Her hair was arranged with a touch of genius.  The Lady Natalya had made the most of so little although Freifrau Bockmann thought she could see evidence that it was finally growing out.  The young countess before her might not be very lovely to look at but her manner and manners were perfect.  She sat and stood and walked exactly as you would expect from a countess or even a princess.  Yes, she had the perfect demeanor of a princess.  Plus that look in her eyes.  The Countess Aksinya’s eyes gave an impression of majesty, strength, and power.  That seemed very odd to the Freifrau Bockmann. 
The Lady Natalya, on the other hand, was a perfect opposite to her countess.  Her face was lovely.  Her figure was like an opening bloom.  Her proportions were exact and perfect.  She looked like the picture plates you found in novels about the royalty.  Her appearance seemed like a perfect reproduction in life of one of those still portraits.  She didn’t show the exact and perfect decorum the Countess did—her face and actions were much more lively.   She seemed the exact counterpoint to the Countess, and the Freifrau Bockmann knew, they were both very intelligent. 
The Freifrau Bockmann waited until the carriage had cleared the archway of the convent and school before she asked, “How was your first week?”

This also gives an example of a character redescription from the POV (point of view) of another character.  I like to do this in my novels.  I usually set up this type of situation near the middle of the novel.  Many readers have built up their own mental images of the characters.  This redescription must be based on the original description of the character.  It should include new details, but it must be true to the original description.  You want to reinforce and strengthen your readers' mental image of the character.  The reason I use this technique is because when I read other author's novels, I realized that about the middle of the novel, I wondered about the description of the major characters.  Therefore, I thought it would be a great thing to give to my readers, the one thing I felt that was missing from other novels.

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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