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Monday, January 21, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Private Scene

21 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Private Scene

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.  We have some very creative scene setting at the beginning.  I also left part of the rest of the scene so you could see Natalya and Aksinya's private interaction and a very important foreshadowing concerning Aksinya's book.  Reacquiring this book is a critical part of the next portion of the novel.

“Natalya!  Natalya!” Aksinya called from her room while she rang the tiny servant’s bell.  Her voice was ten times louder than the bell, and it formed a soft counterpoint to her cries.
Sister Margarethe and the Lady Natalya came running.
The moment they were through the door, Aksinya pointed at Sister Margarethe, “You, sister, prepare my breakfast.  I shall have tea and something more substantial than the school provides.  Sausages with eggs would be fine.  Please scramble the eggs in butter.”
Sister Margarethe’s brow rose, but she just curtsied and went down to the kitchen.
Aksinya waited a moment, then she raised her chin and spoke loudly, “Natalya, please draw my bath.” Then she whispered, “First come here—beside my bed.”
Natalya didn’t hesitate, “Yes, mistress.”
“Yes, Aksinya.”
Natalya blushed, “Yes, Aksinya.”
“Next time, I want you to drink tea with my guests as well.  I did not embarrass you when Lady Bockmann and the Sister Margarethe were in my room, but I will next time.”
“Y…yes, Cou…Aksinya.”
“Now, close and lock the door.”
Natalya ran to the door and locked it.
“Come over here.”
Natalya stood at the side of the bed. 
Aksinya grabbed Natalya’s arm and pulled her down to the bed.  She put her arms around the girl and kissed her cheeks, “Nata, you saved me yesterday.  I didn’t have a chance to tell you before.  You saved me.  You are truly my best friend, and I love you.  You don’t know how important you are to me.”
Natalya held Aksinya close and sobbed in her hair, “Mistress, Aksinya, I was so afraid I would lose you.  I love you.  You are like the sister I never had.”
“And you are much more than the sister I lost.  I can’t shed a tear for her either, and I don’t know why.”
Natalya’s embrace tightened, “Let me shed your tears, mistress.  That is something I am very good at.”  A laugh tinged her sobs.
Aksinya kissed Natalya’s tear streaked cheeks again, “Yes, dear Nata, you are very good at that, but you are an especially great person.  I pray you learn that before you fall as I have.”
Aksinya placed her fingers over Natalya’s lips, “Hush.  I need to know where my book is.”
“The new one?”
“Yes, I dropped it in the street…”
“Yes, when you made the great sorcery.”
“Hush, don’t say it that way.  And especially don’t say it with any trace of pride in your voice.  I dropped it, where is it?”
“I’m sorry, mistress….”  She noted Aksinya’s look, “I mean Aksinya.  I hadn’t thought of it since then.  We were so worried about you.  The young man carried you back here and placed you in your bed.  If he hadn’t been around, I don’t know what we would have done.”
“Did you see the book when he picked me up?”
Natalya shook her head.
Notice in the scene setting, we quickly get the time (breakfast) and the place (Aksinya's bedroom) and the characters (Aksinya and Natalya after Aksinya gets rid of the Sister).  The rest of the flow of the scene moves from Aksinya's thanks, but encompasses many powerful ideas:  the way Natalya addresses Aksinya to the household to the book.  As I mentioned, the book is a very important part of the next portion of the novel.  In fact, the book has led to many issues in the novel.  We shall see many more.
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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