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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Redemption

13 March 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Redemption

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.

The beginning of this scene is a movement in time.  The scene setting gives you that time motion and the place is understood from the context.  The next scene sets the time on Saturday following the morning prayers.  So we have time moving and then catch the plot to that point. 

In this scene, the point is to continue the tension building as well as the plot and theme development.  The point of this novel is the redemption of Aksinya; therefore, she needs to be redeemed.  A classic redemption is depicted through these scenes.  The redemption isn't wholly physical--although Aksinya changes.  The redemption is mental--she changes the way she thinks.  Instead of incantations, she recites prayers.  Instead of magic books, she reads the New Testiment.

This is how Aksinya’s days progressed with only the variation of the domestic work of the rectory and Ecclesia.  Every evening, Aksinya asked about Natalya, but she received no information.  Father Makar explained every time she asked that he still sought the Lady Natalya, but that no one knew what had happened to her.

On Saturday following the morning prayers, Ekaterina prepared to take Aksinya with her to the market, but Father Dobrushin blocked the door when Aksinya tried to leave the rectory. 

Ekaterina pursed her lips, “What’s wrong Father Dobrushin.  The Countess can help me with carrying everything.  She will be very helpful.”

Aksinya stood silent.

Father Dobrushin answered carefully, “I don’t think she should appear in the marketplace.  Right now, until we determine what is going on, she should remain in the Ecclesia.”

Ekaterina glared at him, “I would like her to accompany me, and I’m certain she would like to go out.”

Father Dobrushin sighed, “I will get a Greek Bible for the Countess to study today.  That will make up for missing the market.”

Aksinya didn’t raise her head, “I would like to study.”

Ekaterina made a face, but she turned, “Very well.  I’ll be back before midday communion.  Father Dobrushin, look after my charge.”

Father Dobrushin’s face was very serious, “I shall.”  After Ekaterina was out of the sight, Father Dobrushin gestured toward Aksinya.  She wasn’t watching.  He cleared his throat, “Countess.”

She glanced up, “Yes.”

“Come with me.  I’ll give you an old Bible to study.  It is a little worn, but you should be able to read it without any problem.” Father Dobrushin led Aksinya to the side of the ark, “Wait here.  I’ll get the Bible.”  He went between the rails and to the back of the ark.  After a few moments, he returned with a large book in his hands.  He handed it to Aksinya, “You may read this all you like.”

“May I take it to my room?”

“Yes.  If you have nothing else you need to do, you should study it now.”

Aksinya clasped the large book to her chest.  The place still stung between her breasts where the crucifix had burned her.  She took the Bible back to her room and began to read it.  She was so intrigued with what she read, Ekaterina had to retrieve her for the midday communion.  Following communion, Aksinya continued to read until Ekaterina called her to come help with supper.  Aksinya dragged herself away from the book and went to help.

After dinner, Aksinya begged a taper from Ekaterina and continued to read until the wax and floss was entirely gone.  Then she prayed her rosary until she fell asleep.  Her last prayer was that she might have light to spare so she could spend enough time to memorize the Greek Bible Father Dobrushin had lent her.

After that, Aksinya’s days were completely filled with her work, prayer, and memorization of the Greek Bible.

Aksinya is acclimating to the environment of the Ecclesia.  She is becoming a part of them.  She is being rehabilitated by the people there.  She knows this and goes along with it.  The point is to build the tension slowly out of the climax.  If you have already ready all the Aksinya then you know how everything works out.  If you haven't, note the details of the environment painted by the scenes and the mindset of Aksinya.

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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