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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Instead of a Kiss

23 February 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Instead of a Kiss

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.

This is the beginning of a chapter with the appropriate scene setting.  It also relies on the previous scene for the full setting.  I might correct this later.  The time setting is more direct.  The character setting is very strong.  Not that we bring the party together piecemeal, but all come together at the proper time and place.  There is tension and release in this approach.  There is also a very strong tie to the last chapter.

When Aksinya awoke in the late morning, her first thought was the kiss that still excited her imagination and seemed to tingle on her lips.  It tempted her and excited her.  In spite of a headache, her body was much more responsive now, and she felt less frustrated afterward.  She slowly fell back to sleep.  Natalya finally woke her near noon.

Natalya had her hands full dressing and preparing the sleepy Aksinya for their departure.  The two maids from the evening helped, and together, they assisted the Countess down to the dining room for breakfast.  Everyone else had already eaten breakfast and luncheon, and Aksinya took her time.  She insisted Natalya eat with her.  Ernst was conspicuously absent.

When Aksinya finished her third cup of tea, Natalya was able to bundle her off to the front of the house where the Bockmanns and their coupe awaited them.  All their small trunks had been loaded on the coupe and the driver stood ready to assist them into the cab.

Aksinya met the Bockmanns in the great foyer.  Freiherr Bockmann bowed to Aksinya, and Freifrau Bockmann curtsied.  She took Aksinya’s hand, “Good morning, Countess.”

Aksinya gave a slight nod.  That made her head ache.

Just as they were about to pass through the main doors, the Graf von Taaffe came out of a side opening.  He was followed closely by Ernst.  The Graf tilted his head toward Aksinya, “Good morning, Countess.  I pray you slept well.”

Aksinya cleared her throat, “As well as I could after drinking so much.”

The Graf smiled, “Do you have an answer for me and Ernst this morning?”

“I have not had the opportunity to put my mind fully to the question, yet.  I will to give an answer in one week, on the Monday following this next.”

The Graf rubbed his chin, “Very good and very well said.  I do like the way you plan, Countess.  I still wish you would accept the ring.”

“Ring!” squawked Freifrau Bockmann.”

Aksinya raised her eyes to her aunt’s, “Ernst von Taaffe has made me an offer of matrimony.  I am contemplating his proposal.”

Ernst stepped forward, “I have met my father’s requirements, and I hope I meet yours as well, Aksinya.”

Aksinya gave him a look that could melt any man’s heart.

Natalya scowled.

Ernst continued, “I’ll pick you up at our regular time for dinner on Wednesday evening.”

Aksinya asked, “What shall we see?”

“The opera is Tristan und Isolde by Wagner.  It is a tragedy.”

Graf von Taaffe laughed, “You may kiss Ernst good bye if you wish.”

Aunt Brunhilda put up her hand, “She shall not.  A handshake at this juncture is more than appropriate.”

Aksinya pursed her lips.  Natalya smiled.

Ernst took Aksinya’s hand and bowed over it.

Aunt Brunhilda commented, “Yes, very nice, Herr von Taaffe.”

When she passed her aunt, Aksinya snarled, “I would have rather had a kiss.”

They stepped into the coupe and the driver started out toward Wien and Grossbock.

There is some strong comedy in this scene.  It has to do with Aksinya's desires and her Aunt's decorum.  We see, she gets a hand bow rather than a kiss--poor Aksinya.  She wished for much more and imagined much more, but her aunt and Natalya seem to conspire at every point to prevent her from getting what she wants.  This, we know, is good for Aksinya and bad for the demon.

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., and the individual novel websites:,,,, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

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