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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Setting the Stage

13 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, 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.  The power in this scene and setting comes from those before.  The point is that Aksinya was seduced by the book the demon gave her and she did not sleep.  The time is set by the statement about Monday morning--there are additional time setting portions.  The place is the school and then German class.  The characters are specifically Aksinya, Natalya, and Sister Margarethe.

Monday morning brought more problems for Natalya.  Aksinya had spent the entire night with her new book and would not wake.  Natalya finally dragged Aksinya out of bed and dressed her in her uniform.  They were too tardy for breakfast and chapel, and they came in late to German class.   Sister Margarethe just gave them a glance.  There was no animosity in it.  Before the class was half done, Aksinya fell asleep at the desk she shared with Natalya. 
Natalya couldn’t ignore her, but she tried to not draw any attention to Aksinya.
Sister Margarethe came by with a look of concern and made a couple of notes.  She glanced over Natalya’s work and spoke German with her for a while.  The sister was obviously preoccupied in her concern about Aksinya.  She kept looking over at the Countess.  At the end of German class, Natalya shook Aksinya awake and led her to their next class.  It should not have been a surprise that Aksinya slept through most of each class.  Or that the sisters were perturbed.  They dared not treat a countess like they would their normal students with a swat from a ruler or a thump from a book.  They felt helpless to do anything other than keep a careful eye on her.

This very short scene setting and scene has great ramifications in the novel.  The point of the example is how to set the scene.  The point of the scene itself is a setup (foreshadowing) and motivator for actions later in the novel.

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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