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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, A Kiss

19 February 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, 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.

Now the anticipation developed through the last couple of chapters of the novel has a release, and we start a new buildup of tension.  Actually, tension and release are not simple and singular.  There should be levels of tension and release and overlapping tension and release in any complex novel.  There are many tension builders in these scenes, but at this point, we focus primarily on this one--the love interest of Ernst.

Ernst glanced at her.  He hesitated a moment, “Very well.”  He led Aksinya to where Natalya sat.  Aksinya made a sign to Natalya.  Ernst held to Aksinya’s fingers on his arm and took her back toward the parlor.  He led her through the room and to the entrance to a smaller sunroom on the other side.  The music from the ballroom still sifted to them.  He touched the back of a chair and glanced at Natalya, “I wish to speak privately with the Countess.  Would you sit here by the door?  You can still observe us though the opening.”

Natalya glanced at Aksinya.  Aksinya nodded to her.  Natalya sat in the chair, and Ernst led Aksinya to the end of the sunroom.  The small room was like an enclosed balcony.  The outer wall was glass and overlooked a courtyard within the interior of the building.  A low stone wall stood at the end as though the balcony had once been open, but the glass had been added later.  He rested against the edge and held Aksinya’s hands.  She pulled her hands from his and leaned on the top of the wall.  The top was unfinished stone with some crumbling mortar in between.  She picked at the loose pieces of it, “What did you wish to say to me that you couldn’t say in the ballroom?”

“The reason I am so interested in you.”

Aksinya toyed with the mortar, “I was about to tell you… you are interested only because of the sorcery.  I understand that.”

He stared out at the darkened courtyard, “It isn’t the sorcery.”

Aksinya picked at the mortar a little more fiercely, “It has always been about the sorcery.”

“Why are you trying to tell me how I feel about you?”

“It is obvious.  It is because of the sorcery.  Isn’t that what you told me before?”

Ernst grabbed her hands and made her look at him, “It is obvious that I love you.”

Aksinya tried to pull her hands out of his and turned her face away, “It is obvious because of the sorcery.  Don’t bring in such ideas as love.”

“I’m telling you, Aksinya.  It isn’t the sorcery.  I love you.”

“You…you used my name.”

“Sorry, I’m telling you, it isn’t the sorcery.  It never was the sorcery.  That was just an excuse I used to get close to you.”

“You said you were trying to accomplish sorcery, and you wanted me to teach you.”

“I lied.”

“You said my courtier told you about me.”

“I heard about you from your uncle.  He pointed me to your courtier.  I don’t know why the subject of sorcery came up with him.  I have been studying it.  I have been completely unsuccessful.  I know I can’t really do it.  It requires a faith in the world I don’t have.”

“So you took my book just to get me to go to the ballet with you.”

“Your courtier said there was no other way to convince you.  I wanted to get to know you.  You are an astonishing person.  In my mind, you are a perfect woman.”

Aksinya mumbled, “Ha, you know nothing about me.”

“But I do know a lot about you now.  Everything I know, I love.”  Ernst pulled Aksinya closer to him, “Listen to me Aksinya.  I want you to be mine.”

She trembled and tried to pull away, “What do you mean by that?”

“I want you to marry me.”  He pulled her close again and put his lips on hers.  Aksinya allowed him to kiss her.  She sunk into his embrace.  They stood there for what seemed like to Aksinya for a long time.  Slowly he let her go, and she settled back with her feet solidly on the ground.
There we have a release.  First a love confession followed by a kiss.  This is a release of tension in the novel.  The anticipation was that the reader expected something like this.  Part of the excitement and entertainment was that perhaps the reader didn't expect exactly this reaction or action from Ernst.  The point is to have a character act true to form, but in ways the reader anticipates but doesn't fully expect.  This is a complex balance in writing.

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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