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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Transition and Interview Scene

22 January 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Transition and Interview 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.  This scene transitions from the morning at Aksinya's house to the school and the Reverend Mother's office.  The setting is accomplished very easily for time (after breakfast), place (assumed from the previous scene), and the characters.  There is dressing of the characters and the very important observation by the Sister.  The next point is then the transition to the school...

After breakfast, Natalya and Sister Margarethe dressed Aksinya in her school uniform.  Sister Margarethe marveled that except for some strange cross shaped burns on her chest, Aksinya was not even bruised anywhere on her body.  They walked across the street to Sacré Coeur together.

When they arrived, the Reverend Mother was waiting for them.  She curtsied to Aksinya, Countess, I’m so glad to see you well.
Aksinya nodded, “Thank you, Reverend Mother.  I am well.  Sister Margarethe has been a great help to me.”
“I’m glad to hear that.  When you finish your classes today, please come visit me in my office.  You may bring the Lady Natalya and Sister Margarethe.”
“Yes, Reverend Mother.”
Frau Drescher stood in the shadow of the doors.  She didn’t say a word.
Aksinya and Natalya went to chapel together, and in spite of her grievous sin of the day before, Aksinya didn’t feel any worse than she usually did. 
They attended their classes together and at the end of the day, found themselves before the door to the Reverend Mother’s office.  Before they could knock, Sister Margarethe came up beside Aksinya and rapped on the door.
From inside the office came, “Please enter.”
Sister Margarethe opened the door, and Aksinya followed by Natalya entered the room.
The Reverend Mother stood and curtsied.  She pointed to the seats before her desk.  Aksinya sat and pulled Natalya into the other chair before Sister Margarethe could sit there.  Sister Margarethe stood behind them.
The Reverend Mother sat and propped her chin on the back of her hands.  Her look was piercing, “Well, Countess, Lady Natalya, you are both full of surprises.  I do wish you had told me about your accommodations before now, but we will have to make do.”
Aksinya cocked her head, “Make do?”
“Yes, dear Countess.  There is no way, I, the Abbot, the Cardinal, or the Freifrau Bockmann could allow two unmarried young women to remain in a house alone unchaperoned.”
“We have been there for almost two weeks.”
“That may be so, but it cannot continue as it has.”
Aksinya’s eyes slitted, “What did you have in mind?”
“I can allow you two to stay in that house only if Sister Margarethe oversees you.”
Aksinya straightened, “Sister Margarethe…”
The Reverend Mother wriggled her fingers, “Yes, Countess?”
Aksinya lowered her eyes, “Sister Margarethe will be acceptable.”
“Good, you may continue to dine with us here, as you desire, but I wish to also provide some of the novice sisters to keep the house.”
“More sisters?”
“The Lady Natalya and Sister Margarethe can’t be expected to take care of a house that large by themselves.”
“I didn’t expect to entertain.”
“The novice sisters will just take care of the cleaning and the laundry.  Lady Natalya and Sister Margarethe will continue to act as your servants.”
“The Lady Natalya is my lady-in-waiting and not my servant.”  Aksinya glanced back at Sister Margarethe, “She will be my servant?”
“She has been all this time.  What do you think a teacher really is?”
“I see.”  Aksinya stood.  Natalya stood as quickly as she could beside her.  Aksinya continued, “Thank you, Reverend Mother for being so thoughtful.  You have been kind to me and to my lady-in-waiting.”
“We wish you both to be successful here.  Why should we not accommodate you in these simple things?”  She curtsied.
Aksinya and Natalya walked to the courtyard where Freifrau Bockmann’s carriage was waiting to take them to Freiherr Bockmann’s estate, Grossbock.

This scene is about a person's place.  Note that Aksinya is all about placing Natalya in the proper place in her household.  She ensures that Natalya is above the Sister Margarethe.  She accomplishes this by seating Natalya with her.  Additionally, the entire conversation with the Reverend Mother is about place and level.  Aksinya obviously doesn't want sisters around--but then she really does.  Aksinya doesn't want to accomplish sorcery and this is a great excuse not to.  She doesn't seem to realize this on her own.  This is an example of the obvious that doesn't need to be spoken.  A author makes these types of situations all the time.  The importance should be evident to the reader. The importance may or may not be evident to the characters.
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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