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Monday, February 18, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Dancing and Anticipation

18 February 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Dancing and Anticipation

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. I'm giving you examples from the book so you can see different ways of introducing and writing a scene. In each snippet, you get the scene setting, the tension and release, and the input and output. This isn't true of every example, but the pieces should be there, and I've been trying to identify for you when all the pieces aren't evident. You can use these ideas to guide your own writing. Make sure you set the scene properly, then make everything come to life through the narration and conversation.

Here are the answers we have been anticipating.  Aksinya and Ernst have a discussion on the dance floor that spills out to another room.  The point here is the use of conversation to move the plot and theme in the storyline.  Notice the scene setting through the use of description and previous tags and concepts.

The servants brought out the fish course next.  Ernst was unusually silent.  The main course followed the fish.  Then the salad was followed by the cheese.  Afterward, the Graf stood, “The gentlemen shall retire to the smoking room, and the ladies may retire to the parlor for dessert.”

Ernst and his father led the men from the table.  Aksinya followed a servant and the ladies to the parlor.  The women spoke with Aksinya and that part of the evening was very pleasant to her.  After a while, the men returned to the parlor and the Graf led Ernst to Aksinya, “Countess, would you come to the ballroom.  I have promised my guests a dance, and I hoped you would dance with my son.”

Aksinya stood and took Ernst’s arm.  She was a little wobbly from the wine.  She glanced at him, “I would be pleased to dance.”

In the ballroom, the Graf made a motion toward the sting quartet, and they began to play a waltz.  Ernst clasped Aksinya’s hand and led her into the dance.  He didn’t say anything and didn’t look at Aksinya at first.  She asked him, “Are you embarrassed about your father’s comments at dinner?”

Ernst frowned, “Am I that obvious?”

She laughed, “Yes.”

“Do you understand his meaning?”

“Yes, I think I do.  This is why you brought me, isn’t it?  Your father sees me as a potential candidate for your bride.”

“Yes, it is that obvious?”

“It was that obvious from the beginning.”

“Yes… And what are your feelings?”

“Feelings have little to do with it.”

Ernst stopped cold, “Wha…what do you mean?”

Aksinya pursed her lips, “Everyone is staring.”

Ernst led off again, “Everyone is staring at you.”

“At me?”

“You are absolutely gorgeous in that dress.  If you didn’t wish to be stared at, you shouldn’t wear such beautiful clothing.  Didn’t you realize?”

Aksinya tossed her head, “Natalya chose my dress.  I leave such things to her.  If you wished perfection in decorum and dress you should be interested in her.”

“But I am not interested in her.  I am interested only in you.”

“Only because of what I am…”

Ernst pulled her a little closer, “This is not the place to speak about such things.”


“Come, we will converse in private.”

Aksinya pressed her lips together again, “Not without my chaperone.”
Ah, now we know the point of the visit.  Perhaps Aksinya understood from the beginning.  This whole event was staged for her benefit.  Perhaps she didn't get it until now when it was made obvious to her.  Perhaps she did understand.  In any case, this is the release that then leads to the next tension--what will Ernst say to her.  The reader also anticipates this--the conversation will obviously be about marriage.  We shall see...
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, aseasonofhonor.

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