My Favorites

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Preparing for Bed

6 February 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Preparing for Bed

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.

Some events seem so simple, but are made very complex by the conversation that goes on.  This is so in any novel.  The point of the scene isn't to show you Aksinya being prepared for bed, but rather the conversation and events that communicate the mind and heart of Aksinya to the reader. 

Here we see an entire scene setting.  This little scene is very common in this time. 

Inside Aksinya’s room, Aksinya lay across her bed.  Natalya undid the buttons and hooks on her dress.  Aksinya was still awake, but her eyes were closed.  Natalya pushed against her side, “Roll over Aksinya.”

Aksinya rolled with Natalya’s help.  Natalya undid the rest of the buttons.  She pulled the dress up and over Aksinya’s head.  That was a struggle.  The petticoats and underclothes came off more easily.  When Natalya tried to put on Aksinya’s nightgown, Aksinya fended her off, “I’m hot.  I don’t want to wear anything.”

“That’s the wine.  You’ll be cold soon enough.”

“Just wait a bit.  The room’s spinning.”

“That’s the wine too.  Put your feet on the floor.”

“I’m dizzy.  Why did you let me drink so much?”

Natalya snorted, “I didn’t have any say in it.  You may remain like you are for the time being.”  Natalya washed Aksinya’s face while she lay on the bed.  She tugged Aksinya to sit and leaned against her back so she couldn’t flop back down.  Natalya began to brush Aksinya’s hair, “Your hair is finally growing out a little.”

Aksinya clumsily brought her hands to her face, “Are you certain?”

“Yes, it is almost to your shoulders at the very back.  It is beautiful hair—why did you cut it?  You never told me.”

“I thought I did.”

“You didn’t.  Was it part of your sorcery?”

Aksinya trembled, “Is it that obvious to you?”

“It was cut with a very sharp knife, snick-snack.  Your aunt told me your hair once reached down to your waist.  She said you used to put it in a long single braid and that it was the most beautiful hair she had ever seen.”

“My mother would brush it for me every night.  She kept her hair short—I was never certain why.  She loved to let my hair cascade through her fingers.”

“She loved you very much.”

“She loved my hair—me, not so much.”

Natalya tugged a little harder on the brush than she needed to, “Why would you say that?”

“Because I think it is the truth.  Why do you brush my hair?”

Natalya smiled, “Because I love you.”

“Do you love me because of who I am or because of what I did for you?”

Natalya brushed a little harder.

“Ouch, you don’t have to be so rough.”    

“If you weren’t drunk, I’d hit you with this brush.”

Aksinya didn’t turn, “Why are you crying?”

“Why does love have to be like a contract with you?”

Aksinya didn’t reply.

“I do love you because you rescued me, but there is much, much more.  I love you because you were the first to look at me as if I was a real person.”

“Then you should not love me at all.  Asmodeus found you.  He convinced me to take you as my lady-in-waiting and… and… as my apprentice.”  Aksinya clutched her hands to her small breasts, “He forced me to take you into my household.  I would not have done it without his temptation.”

Natalya leaned her face against Aksinya’s back.  Her hot tears trickled down Aksinya’s cooling skin, “But you did.  You made me your friend.  You let me go to school with you.  You told me you loved me.  I can offer you nothing, but still you do love me.”

Aksinya’s response was a mumble, “Yes, I love you, Nata.”

“Then why do you think I love you with any less love?”

“I’m sorry, Nata.” Akisnya’s voice was slurred, “There is a time when I know everyone will deny me.”

“I will not deny you.”

Her speech slowed a little more, “If you don’t deny me, then you will betray me.  You see, I am not allowed love, and I am not allowed friends.  I am only allowed suffering.”  At the end, Natalya had to strain to hear her.

Natalya clasped Aksinya around her naked shoulders, “I will try my hardest not to deny or betray you, Mistress.”  She held her tightly for a while.  Aksinya’s breathing came slowly and regularly.  Aksinya sagged in her arms.  Natalya realized Aksinya was asleep.  Into Aksinya’s lengthening hair she whispered, “I love you.  I will never deny or betray you.”

The great irony in this scene is we know Natalya will betray Aksinya.  She betray her while believing she is protecting Aksinya.  There is also much we learn in the conversation between the drunk Aksinya and the sober Natalya.  This is a tool an author can use to give deep seated information from the mind of a character.  These drunken declarations from Aksinya come from the core of her mind.  They are not, as usual, covered by gentility or reason.  Use this tool when it makes sense and always set your scene properly to allow the use of the tool.

My notes: once you have a theme, you need to begin to visualize your plot, focus your theme, and define your characters. More tomorrow. I'll move on to basic writing exercises and creativity in the near future.
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, http://www.aseasonofhonor.

No comments:

Post a Comment