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Monday, January 14, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, more Setting the Stage

14 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, more Setting the Stage

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. In this example, we see the time, place, and characters set. Then they are allowed to begin to act.  Here is a release of the tension of the scene before.  In the scene before, Sister Margarethe sent a note to Aksinya to speak with her.  The demon told Aksinya that Sister Margarethe wanted a sexual relationship with her.  Aksinya wants to stay away from the Sister for this reason.

In the morning, Aksinya was much more wide awake.  When she and Natalya went to German class, Sister Margarethe greeted them at the door, “Good morning, Countess, Lady Natalya.”  She stood in front of Aksinya when she tried to move to her seat, “Did you get my note last night?”
“No,” Aksinya lied.  “It must have gone astray.”
Sister Margarethe eyes widened, “Surely not.”
“In any case, I shall not sleep through class today.  You needn’t worry. You may tell the Reverend Mother and my other teachers that.  I spent Sunday evening in study, so I was tired.”
“But you didn’t finish most of the work assigned to you.”
“I did not say what I was studying, only that I was in study.”
Sister Margarethe took a deep breath, “Yes, I see.  Take your seats.  I will speak to you later.”
“During class?”
“Yes, during class.”
Aksinya and Natalya sat at their desk.  Natalya pulled out her books.  She spoke Russian, “You did get a note last night.”
Aksinya pressed her lips together, “She…she…I can’t tell it to anyone.  I can’t be alone with her.  I never can be alone with her—it’s too dangerous for me.”

The release is that Aksinya lies outright about the note.  The tension was that she received a not from the Sister that she ignored.  The time setting of this scene is "In the morning..."  The place is "German Class."  The immediate characters are Aksinya, Natalya, and Sister Margarethe.  Then the action begins.  The set up for the next tension is that the Sister will speak to Aksinya during class.  This entire incident is a set up for a future event that includes these three women.

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, http://www.aseasonofhonor.

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