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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Introductions and Introductions

16 February 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Introductions and Introductions

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 a very good example of an interior description and continuing introductions.  It isn't enough to just introduce people once, you must introduce them also to your guests.  This is true now as well as historically.  I know minimalists want to do away with these types of scenes.  I think they are more than necessary.  They allow to to show a lot about the worlds around your characters.  Definitely don't leave them out of historical novels--and definitely don't scrimp.

The interior of the mansion was similar to the outside.  The floor was set stone, and very old.  Martial emblems and weapons decorated the walls.  The foyer was large and the walls were very thick.  Heavy tapestries attempted to contain the chill from the outside, but they only helped increase the temperature a little.  Inside, with the Graf’s help, a footman took Aksinya’s cloak.  They made their way up a long stone staircase to the next floor.  That opened to a long room which ran over half the length of the front of the house.  At the far end of the ballroom, a string quartet played gentle waltz music.  Against the inside wall were two large fireplaces filled with roaring wood fires.  The floors here were also stone, but thick oriental rugs covered them.  The temperature was also much more to Aksinya’s liking, but a persistent draft touched the room with a slight chill.
Five other very well dressed couples conversed in the room.  When the new arrivals entered, they all turned toward the Graf and his visitors.  Graf von Taaffe pulled Aksinya gently ahead of him, “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you, the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna.”  Everyone made a deep bow or curtsy.  The Graf continued, “My son, Ernst is courting the Countess.”
A quiet mummer ran through the ballroom. 
Graf von Taaffe smiled, “I will introduce the Countess to each of you when it is convenient for her.”
Aksinya blushed again, “Please continue, I will be pleased to make your acquaintance.”
The entire room made an obeisance to her again.
The Graf laughed and gestured Ernst forward.  He placed Aksinya’s hand on Ernst’s arm and announced to the group, “Accompanying the Countess is her aunt and uncle, my friends, the Freiherr and Freifrau Bockmann.  You all are acquainted with them already.  And also, the Countess’s lady-in-waiting, a member of the Russian court, the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.”
The group bowed to the Freiherr, Freifrau, and Natalya.
The Graf nodded to Ernst, “Come Ernst let us introduce the Countess.”  With Natalya directly behind them, the Graf led Aksinya around to each of his friends and holders.  They were mostly lower nobility and some politicians from the local area.  None were as high as a Freiherr in rank.

This is a very important tension building part of this scene.  You might have already guessed what the Graf (Duke) is up to.  Perhaps, not yet.  This building of tension becomes obvious to the reader before it is obvious to Aksinya--that's the point.
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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