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Monday, March 25, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Trial

25 March 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Trial

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.

We are up to the inquisition of Akinsya.  Frau Becker takes Aksinya to the place of the trial.  We have the scene setting in time, place, and character.  The setup of this scene is the tension development of the trial and then the actual trial.  During the trial, we have the various points of the prosecution presented...

In the morning, Frau Becker dressed Aksinya in her thin black dress and brought her breakfast in the room where she had been convalescing.  Just before nine, she led Aksinya to the chapel within the Cardinal’s house.  Aksinya heard the sounds of a crowd outside the building.  Through the windows, she caught a glimpse of men with cameras and writing pads.  Guards stood at the inner doors.  Inside the chapel was an altar on a slightly raised platform.  Just ahead of the altar sat a bishop’s chair on the platform.  A second smaller chair sat below the platform and about ten feet from the edge of it.  The other seats for spectators where arranged behind this.  They were already filled with many officials of the church.  Aksinya could tell by their robes.  Aksinya recognized the Reverend Mother, the Abbot, and Sister Margarethe near the middle of the crowd.  Some of the higher ranking sisters from the convent, Sacré Coeur, were also there.  Aksinya remembered them from her classes.  A few secular spectators were seated at the back.  Aksinya could tell since they were the only ones without ecclesiastical robes.
Frau Becker led Aksinya to the smaller chair and pointed toward it, “You are to sit there, child.”
As she sat, Aksinya grasped Frau Becker’s hand, “Thank you for your kindness to me.  I shall not forget it.”  She smiled.
Frau Becker covered her face with her free hand, “You are welcome.  I’ve been instructed to help you as you have need.  I’ll sit just behind you.”
“Thank you.”
Frau Becker reluctantly let go of Aksinya’s hand and moved behind her.
After a few minutes, Inquisitor Esposito entered.  He did not sit.  He nodded toward Aksinya.  Moments later, the Archinquisitor Gallo came in from the door at the side of the altar.  Everyone stood.  The Archinquisitor glared at Aksinya then bowed to the altar and immediately began an ascension prayer in Latin.  He led the court in a general confession and absolved them.  He led them in the Apostolic Creed.  Then he sat down and signaled for everyone to be seated.
The Archinquisitor brought out a paper, “Alleged Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna…”
Aksinya interrupted, “I am not an alleged Countess.  I am the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna.”
“You are not allowed to speak until you are called upon.”
“I am not an alleged Countess.  I am the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna.”
“Little girl, you are already prejudicing this court against you.”
“That may be so, but I insist that you address me by my proper title.”
“Your identity is one of the questions before this court, but if you fail to hold your tongue, I will have you bound and gagged.”
“That is your prerogative, but I also have the right to be addressed properly by this court.”
The Archinquisitor turned to Inquisitor Esposito, “Instruct the Fraulein in the proper decorum of the court.”
Aksinya glared at him, “This is the first issue before the court.  If you can’t identify me properly then what kind of trial can this be?”
“I warned you once, little girl.  I will have you bound and gagged.”
Inquisitor Esposito stammered, “If it pleases the Archinquisitor, the promotor fiscalis should first establish the identity of the accused.”
The Archinquisitor frowned at him, “Very well.  This is not the usual procedure, but I will take the advice of the advocatus reorum and first prove the identity of the accused.”  He faced Aksinya, “Little girl, what is your baptized name?  I know it is not Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna.”
Aksinya nodded, “What you say is true.  My baptized name is not, Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna.”
The courtroom let out a sound between a gasp and a groan.
The Archinquisitor smiled, “Then what is your baptized name?”
“My baptized name is Aksinya Georgovna Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov.”
The Archinquisitor glared at her, “Preposterous.”
Aksinya stared him down, “My father was Grand Duke George Alexandrovich Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov.  He died of tuberculosis before I was born.  My mother was Princess Nina Vladimirovna Golitsyna, nee Bockmann.  She later married my adopted father Count Andrei Nikolaevich Golitsyna.  I was given my adopted father’s name and all rights to the name by him.”
A whisper started in the courtroom, “She claims to be a princess.”
The Archinquisitor half stood, “Quiet in the courtroom.  Preposterous, I say.  You claim first to be a Countess and now to be a Romanov Princess.”  He slowly lowered himself back into the Bishop’s seat.
“I am a Romanov Princess and a Countess and I insist on being addressed properly.”
Aksinya takes control of the situation from the beginning.  This is the first tension and release.  It isn't completely resolved at this point.  It leads directly into the second tension and release.

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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