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Friday, January 25, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, more Party and Introductions

25 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, more Party and 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. This is a transition and conversation scene.  The setting has already occurred.  The point is to give you an entertaining piece where Aksinya communicates at the Advent party with a couple of very important ecclesiastical people from Wien.

When all the guests had been received, Aksinya was left enthroned in her seat at the fireplace.  Natalya brought her a glass of wine and a plate of food.  Most of the guests stood a polite distance away from Aksinya as though they were afraid to approach the Countess although they had been introduced.  Eventually, the Abbot stepped up beside Aksinya.  He bowed, “Dear Countess, I understand you are attending Sacré Coeur.
“Yes Father Abbot, my lady-in-waiting and I are both attending.”
“That is what I heard from the Reverend Mother.  Your progress…”
“Is less than expected.”
“Yes, I’d heard that too.  Is our curriculum not to your liking?”
“Not at all.  Lady Natalya is learning German.  The language is new to her.  I must ensure she gains this skill before I can focus on my studies.”
“Oh, I see.”
“I thought I made this clear to the Reverend Mother.”
“The Reverend Mother is entirely complementary toward you.  She has not said a negative word concerning you at all.  I have other sources.  My job is to keep an eye on the school and the convent.  You are one of our most important students, so I keep an eye out for you too.”
“Thank you, Father Abbot.”
“The pleasure is all mine.  I hope Sacré Coeur can be like a family to you.  We do wish you to feel comfortable... and to succeed.
“I shall apply myself as well as I can.  My lady-in-waiting is very bright and is nearly ready to advance in her basic language knowledge.  I think in the next semester, I will be able to focus on my other work.”
“I will hold you to that.”
“Please don’t.  The needs of my servant and friend are much more important to me than my own progress.”
The Abbot took a sharp breath.
“You needn’t be so surprised.  This is what my father taught me.  He oversaw a very large estate in Russia with thousands under his care.  The needs of the people are necessary to maintain their dignity and your honor.”
The Abbot bowed, “Even so, you are very wise, Countess.”
Aksinya’s smile slipped, “Not so wise as cautious, but thank you.”
The Cardinal and his secretary came up beside the Abbot, who moved to the side, “Good evening, Father Abbot.”
The Abbot bowed and made a slight genuflect, “Your Eminence.”
Aksinya nodded and Natalya curtsied.  The Cardinal bowed deeply to Aksinya, “Countess, we are very happy to have you within our spiritual care, but we do understand that you are Orthodox and not Catholic.”
Aksinya nodded.
“Have you had the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the Orthodox community in Wien?”
Aksinya tilted her head, “We have attended the Ecclesia where Father Makar presides.”
The Cardinal smiled, “I would like to win you over to our church, but I promise, I will not attempt that.  You must take the time to become familiar with the Orthodox community.  You will be very helpful to them especially with all the refugees coming across the Russian boarder at this time.  I will speak to the Archpriest Makar about you.  He is a good friend of mine and may not realize how close your residence is to the Ecclesia.”
“I didn’t realize Father Makar was an Archpriest.  Thank you, Your Eminence.”
“That is my pleasure, Countess.  I hope the Father Abbot explained how important you are to us.”
“He mentioned generally, but he didn’t say anything about my importance.”
“But you are, dear lady.  The people today look for help following this disastrous war.  The revolution and now civil war in Russia only made things worse.  The people need a strong aristocracy and church to help led them in these times.  Our own aristocracy is weak in numbers and control.  The Russian nobility, on the other hand, is very well established.  Although it is a loss to Russia, we hope to strengthen our own nation with more expatriates like you.  We pray you can integrate yourself into our society and culture in a very positive way.”
“My Uncle and Aunt are of a similar mind.  I hope I can live up to your expectations as well.”
“Yes, please keep up your studies for their sake.  I think your uncle would like to see you as the jewel in the crown of our city some day.  He is very proud of you.”
“Thank you.  My Aunt and Uncle have been to me like the mother and father I lost in Russia.  I am indebted to them.”
The Cardinal glanced from the sides of his eyes, “You are a very pleasant noblewoman.  I can see that you will go far.” He smiled, “I will gladly help you all I can.  You may contact my secretary, Herr Schwab.” He pointed at the layman beside him, “If you have any needs.”
“Again, thank you, Your Eminence.”
He bowed.  The Abbot bowed.  They both bowed their way back to the floor of the ballroom.
Aksinya leaned against the arm of her chair.  She put her hand under her chin and gave every indication that she was bored.  She was bored.  The crowd seemed to move a little further from her.  Slowly the party wound down.  No one else approached her or her lady-in-waiting.  The crowd cleared out a little and Aksinya noted some late arrivals who had not been introduced to her.  They didn’t approach her either.  They were mostly young men without a female companion or women with an older male escort.  Aksinya felt a little piqued that they had not greeted her.
The important part of this communicaiton is the foreshadowing of future events and the introduction of people who will be important.  This is also a transition to a very important part of the scene.  There is an additional passing of information about how Aksinya was taught to view people and to work with her people and her servants.

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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