My Favorites

Monday, February 25, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, No Revelation

25 February 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, No Revelation

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.

Someone caught wind of the hot news in Wien--Ernst asked Aksinya to marry him.  Note the scene setting in the first sentence for time and place.  The characters come next and are also set.  We have a moving scene with added characters, but ones we have been introduced to before.  The tension and release comes from the response of Aksinya, Nataya, the Sister, and the girls.  Each has a role to play here.

When Aksinya and Natalya entered Sacré Coeur on Monday morning, every eye in the school followed her.  At chapel, the girls and every sister watched her carefully.  Aksinya ignored them all.  She had to leave before communion, but the tea Natalya made for her between chapel and the first class settled her stomach. 
The moment Aksinya and Natalya entered their German classroom, Anna Pfaff followed by the rest of the girls in the class surrounded her, “Countess, we heard that Herr von Taaffe has asked your hand in marriage, is it true?”
Behind them, Sister Margarethe’s face fell.  She mumbled, “I didn’t know.”
Aksinya began to push her way past Fraulein Pfaff to her seat, but she suddenly thought better of that, “Where did you hear such a thing?”
“The rumor is all over the school.  Please tell us.  It is so exciting…”
Aksinya glared, and the girls took a step back.
Anna continued with a trembling stutter, “We are all so happy for you—that is if it is true.”
“I don’t like my personal business shared about, but I will tell you, it is true.  At Graf von Taaffe’s New Year’s party, his son, Ernst, proposed to me.”
Anna put her hands together, “What is your answer to him?”
Aksinya growled, “That is definitely my own business.  I have not made my decision.”
Natalya grimaced, “She is to give her answer to him next Monday.”
Aksinya turned Natalya an angry look, “Lady Natalya, please don’t share such personal information without my approval.”
Natalya cringed, and dropped her eyes.
Anna turned toward Natalya, “Then Lady Natalya, has the Countess shared her decision with you?”
Natalya shook her head.
Sister Margarethe moved a step toward the girls, and stated in a distraught tone, “It is past time to start class.  Please find your seats—immediately.”
The girls slowly broke up and went reluctantly to their desks.
Aksinya stomped to her seat and flopped into it.  She wouldn’t speak to Natalya or to Sister Margarethe the entire class.  

If you look closely, you can see Natalya's change.  She is rebelling against Aksinya.  The reason is Ernst.  Natalya doesn't want Ernst to influence or take Aksinya.  We know to some degree why Natalya has a problem with sex and marriage.  We know she has a problem with Ernst.  The reaction of Sister Margarethe is also interesting.  You note that she doesn't want to loose her Aksinya either.
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.

No comments:

Post a Comment