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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Temptation and Truth

23 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Temptation and Truth

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 an entire scene.  You get the place, the time, and the characters.  The introduced scene is the audience of the demon with Aksinya.

Aksinya and Natalya spent a quiet weekend with the Freiherr and Freifrau Bockmann.  The Freifrau Bockmann discussed the details of her Advent party with Aksinya and Natalya.  Aksinya only listened with half an ear.  She wasn’t really interested in a party.  She wasn’t interested in much of anything.  The last encounter with the demon frightened and yet encouraged her, but she didn’t dare imagine she had been in any way successful.  She had given in to the demon.  She had used sorcery to save Natalya and Sister Margarethe.  Aksinya wasn’t certain what she should or could do next, and she couldn’t imagine what the demon might demand from her the next time.  She didn’t have to wait long to hear from him.
Late Saturday evening a heavy knock came to her door.  Aksinya caught the scent of sulfur.  She rolled over, “I really do not wish to speak to you demon.”
The door didn’t open, “You said that last time, Countess.  I request an audience.”
She sighed a great sigh, “And, I do wish to ask you some questions—you may enter.”
The door opened and Asmodeus stepped through it.  The smell of sulfur increased slightly.  He shut it carefully after him.
Aksinya sat up in bed.
The demon bowed, “Good evening, Countess.”
Aksinya took a deep breath, “Asmodeus, where is my book?”
“You have many books…”
“You know just the book I mean.  It was the one I was carrying when you precipitated the attack on my lady-in-waiting and the nun.”
“Ah, you are mistaken, Countess.  I did not make any attack on your friends…it was entirely the work of those hooligans from the Golden Adler Gasthaus.”
“Čort poberí[1], you demon.  You confessed to me yourself that you tempted them to it.”
The demon seemed petulant, “I told you before, countess.  You can’t curse a being who is already cursed.”
“I don’t care.  I want to know, where is my book?”
“I don’t know.”
“You are lying.”
The demon lifted one side of his lips.  His fangs glistened in the moonlight, “Ha, why do you think that?”
Aksinya stuck her face forward.  Her eyes bore in on the demon’s, “You have lied over and over to me.”
Asmodeus wouldn’t meet her gaze, “How could that be?”
“You lied about Sister Margarethe…”
The demon examined his claws, “I did not lie—she is infatuated with you.”
 “You tried to get me to…to get me to…”
“…to seduce her?”
Aksinya lowered her gaze, “Yes, just that.  Such a disgusting thing.”
The demon’s fangs were very visible in his face, “Perhaps a misunderstanding?”
“That you fostered.  Everything you have told me is a lie.”
“That isn’t so.”
“Then what is the truth?”
“Ah, that is the question.  Isn’t it?  What is the truth?”
“Tell me, demon.”
“But, Countess, I cannot.  The truth is a trade secret.”
Aksinya made a depreciating sound and turned her head, “Just tell me, where is my book?”
“I don’t know.  That is the truth.  I suspect it will turn up.  Why don’t you seek it yourself—you have the skills?”
“I have no desire to trade more of my virtue for so trivial a reason.”
Asmodeus voice rumbled oddly, “That is the rub, isn’t it?  You have traded a great deal of your virtue for so little.  You knew that to make such a great enchantment without protection would greatly harm you.  You knew that without the items as symbols and the proper sacrifice, your body would have to bear entirely both the symbol and the sacrifice.  You knew that mixing those new spells with the old would be dangerous.  You defied me and that in itself was foolish.  You almost died, you know.”
“I almost died.  But, I traded all to save my friend, and...”  She turned her gaze back to the demon, “I still think you are lying.  I want my book.  It is dangerous in the hands of others.”  Aksinya put her hands down at her side, “Now, why did you disturb my rest?”
“I tried to come late enough that I didn’t disturb your own personal perversions.”
Aksinya just stared.
“Ah, so you have realized that also have you.”
“Your temptation is little more than a discomfort.”
“Because you have surrounded yourself with crosses,” the demon spat.
Aksinya allowed herself a tiny smile.  She plucked at one of the petite crosses Natalya had sewn into her nightgown.
“I came to see how you fared.  I’m glad you didn’t die.  I have not completed all the evil I intend through you.”
“So, why did you come here tonight?”
The demon’s lips slightly rose over his fangs.
Aksinya tapped the covers under her fingertips, “I have another question for you.”
“Ask all you wish, Countess.”
Aksinya snarled, “Because you will not tell me the truth anyway.”
Asmodeus shrugged.
“What happened to the men at the tavern?”
This time the demon did smile.  Aksinya could detect his humor before he spoke, “They are all dead.”
“I did not kill them.”
“They are dead anyway.”
“You are lying.”
“Perhaps you should ask them yourself,” the demon let out a great laugh. 
“Then they are alive…”
He chuckled, “I meant in hell.”
“Go to hell, yourself.”
“I’ve been there, Countess.”
“You tempted them…”
“I did not give them anything more than they wished themselves—such is the way with temptation.  You, more than anyone, should realize that, Countess.”
“I’m tired of arguing with you.  Leave me.”
“Ah, it is time for me to leave.  I have just one thing to tell you, Countess.”
“I knew there was more to this visit than pleasantries.”
Asmodeus bowed, “I just wanted to warn you.  You have chosen to defy me.  None of my other masters ever did such a thing.  It is incomprehensible to me.  Still, your choices do promote evil.  Yet, because you defy me, they will bring you much sorrow.  A final warning from your servant, it is a threat.  Don’t give away too much of your heart.  What you give away may never be returned, and when it is, it will result in great sorrow.”
“You spout stupid platitudes…why should I expect wisdom from a demon.”
“Why indeed, Countess.”  The demon bowed out of the room.  Before he shut the door, he called sweetly, “Good night.”
Under her breath, Aksinya whispered, “One can love without desire, without lust, Asmodeus.  That is the secret that causes all your evil to crumble.”
A soft hiss answered her, “But love without desire is not as sweet, Countess.  Just look at how you love yourself.”  The words seemed to echo within the closed room.
Aksinya covered her head with her blanket and put her hands over her ears.

This scene is about the question of truth.  I offer it as an example of scene setting and of what to show and what not to show in a novel.  The question is how much of what the demon says is truth and how much of what Aksinya says is truth.  You don't know, and I won't tell you.  This is an ultimate question answered and not answered in the novel.  It is answered to a degree about the demon, but not in the concept of life.  The ultimate question is truth.  The answer isn't so simple to answer.

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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