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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Too Late

31 March 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Too Late

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.

This isn't the 1400's or Aksinya would be burned at the stake.  I know it is difficult for many modern readers to understand, but the archinquisitor's punishment is very harsh.  He destroyed these people socially and professionally.  He also may have taken any hope of salvation from them.  This is purposeful.  I try to convey how important this is in the novel.

Aksinya smiled and nodded.

“As to these others.”

Aksinya growled, “I accept your punishment.  It is just.  Do not judge these others.  I renounce any association with them.”

The Archinquisitor chuckled, “They must answer for their own sins.  It is not up to you to judge, little girl.  Herr von Taaffe, you are allowed communion after proper repentance and penance to be determined by the Cardinal of Wien.  You are accused and guilty of seduction and acquaintance with sorcery.  Repent of this, and you shall be freely given the succor of your Holy Church.  Equally, you, Sister Margarethe, are guilty of acquaintance with sorcery.  You shall not be allowed to teach for the rest of your life.  After proper repentance and penance, you shall be allowed to continue as a novice of your community until such time as your Reverend Mother and Abbot shall accept you into the Holy Orders again.”  He took a deep breath, “You, Lady Natalya are a victim of this woman.  Upon repentance and penance and if you are confirmed within our community, I allow you to join with our Holy Catholic Church.”

Aksinya’s lips turned slightly up.  That quickly became a frown.

The Archinquisitor continued, “Reverend Mother Kluge, you allowed this sorceress to enter Sacré Coeur and bewitch your sisters and your students.  You shall be reduced to a sister of your order and not hold the position of Reverend Mother again.  The Abbot, Father Abend, is equally guilty of this sin and shall also be reduced to a priest without authority until properly elevated.  I pronounce the school, Sacré Coeur, to be closed until a full accounting of the evil that was committed within it is determined and purged.  It shall open again only under these conditions are met.”

The Reverend Mother gave a cry.  The sisters around her held to her.

“The convent shall be under a full review and shall accept penance until the time the Cardinal of Wien shall lift that penance.  No new novices shall be accepted nor sisters elevated until that time.”

Aksinya panted, “You already had planned all this before you heard anything, didn’t you?”

“You, little girl have nothing to say to me.  You are meaningless now.  You will soon face your accusers in another court, a court of secular law, and you should pray they are as lenient as I.”    

Aksinya stood, “I accept the just punishment for my sins.  I admit to them and confess them all to you.”  She dropped to her knees, “I beg your pardon for any and all suffering I have caused.  I have no excuse for my actions.  I only wish I could take your suffering on myself.  Forgive all these.  Please, in the name of God, forgive them and only punish me.”
The Archinquisitor made a dismissive motion with his hand and signaled for the guards, “Your penance and pleas come much too late, little girl.”
Of course Aksinya's pleas fall on deaf ears.  Did anyone think there would be any other result?  The demon set this up.  He used the church and its holiest to do his work.  The demon meant to punish Aksinya by punishing her friends.  This has been his greatest success.  The demon took from Sister Margarethe her greatest love, to teach.  He took from the Reverend Mother her position and authority.  He took from the Abbot his position and authority.  The only fault of these people was to be associated with Aksinya.  Thus the punishment harms these people and Aksinya all the worse.

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.

For more information, you can visit my author site at, and my individual novel websites:,,,, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

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