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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, even more Tension and Transitions

3 March 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, even more Tension and Transitions

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.

When building tension, appropriate repetition is your friend.  You should not repeat something just for the sake of repeating it, but you should constantly remind your readers that an important event is coming up.  How to do this?  If the event is important to the novel, it is important to the characters.  Therefore, in Aksinya, the event where Aksinya gives her answer to Ernst is very important to the plot and the theme.  This makes the event important to many of the characters.  It is important to the girls of Aksinya's school--just because of Aksinya's celebrity and the social importance of Ernst's marriage.  It is important to Ernst.  It is important to Ernst's father.  It is important to Aksinya's aunt and uncle.  It is important to Sister Margarethe and to Natalya.  This singular event is important to almost all the characters in the novel; therefore, all these characters talk about it and they ask Aksinya about her decision.  That's the point, there is repetition about this event because it is important to the characters.  This way I can build tension in the novel and with the readers--and remind them about the upcoming scene.

Inside the coupe, Aunt Brunhilda looked Aksinya over for a moment.  She tapped the side of the glass window and held the strap as the carriage moved forward, “Good evening, Countess, Lady Natalya.”

“Good evening, Aunt Brunhilda,” Aksinya smiled.  She couldn’t help smile when she said her aunt’s name.


“Well what?”

“Aren’t you going to share your decision about Herr von Taaffe with me?  You will certainly tell him, yes, on Monday.”

Aksinya looked out the window, “I haven’t informed my confidant, the Lady Natalya yet.  I am not ready to let everyone know.  On Monday, you shall all know everything.”

“You haven’t told the Lady Natalya yet?” Freifrau Bockmann pouted and put her chin on the back of her hand.  She glanced at Natalya, “Then there is not reason for me to try to cajole the answer from her?”

Aksinya frowned and didn’t turn from the window, “None at all.”

“Lady Natalya, the Countess has told you nothing about how her heart swings?”

Natalya shook her head.

Aunt Brunhilda snuck a look back at Aksinya, “Surely you will say yes to him.”

“I just had this conversation with Sister Margarethe, and I really don’t wish to be interrogated about it again.”
“Yes, Countess,” Freifrau Bockmann stared at her hands with an unhappy look on her face.

Plus it is really fun to see everyone so interested in Aksinya's business, and Aksinya not getting with the program.  Everyone wants to know her answer--including the readers.
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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