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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Trick

26 March 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Trick

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 you develop a scene, you may have and you should want to have multiple tension and release incidents.  In this scene, there is the overall tension and release of the trial itself, and at the same time, there are specific incidents in the plot that also produce tension and release.  The first is the proof of Aksinya's identity.  This was kept secret through the entire novel.  It was foreshadowed and hinted at, but the truth doesn't come out until this very moment.  At this time, we learn Aksinya is a princess.  The catholic church and the people of the Austrian society must follow the dictates of their culture and their laws and properly attend her.  This is a tactical victory for Aksinya, but a strategic loss.

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.”

The Archinquisitor stood, “Inquisitor Esposito, are the Bockmanns here?”

“Yes, Archinquisitor.  They begged not to testify unless absolutely necessary.”

“It is necessary.  Right now.  Bring Freiherr Bockmann into the courtroom.”

The inquisitor bowed.  He went to the door, and after a few minutes, Freiherr Bockmann reluctantly entered the chapel.

The Archinquisitor sat in his chair, “Swear the Freiherr in.”

The Inquisitor held the Gospel book before Freiherr Bockmann, “You do swear by Almighty God, the searcher of hearts, that you shall speak the truth as you know it to this ecclesiastical court. And this as you shall answer to God at the great day.”

The Freiherr looked uncomfortable.  He mumbled, “I do so swear.”  He kissed the book.

The Archinquisitor took a deep breath, “The question, Freiherr Bockmann is the lineage of this girl.  Whose child is she?”

The Freiherr turned toward the Archinquisitor, “I did not wish to testify in this proceeding at all.”

The Archinquisitor glared at the Freiherr, “This is a simple question, and we must know the answer to if we are to proceed.”  He pointed at Aksinya, “I ask you again, whose child is she?”

The Freiherr wrung his hands, “She is the daughter of my sister, Princess Nina Vladimirovna Golitsyna, nee Bockmann and the Grand Duke George Alexandrovich Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov.”

The whispers began again, “She is a princess.”

“Quiet!”  The Archinquisitor’s eyes snapped open wide, “You swear to this?”

“It is the truth.”

Aksinya smiled, “Archinquisitor, I insist that you address me as Princess.  That is my right.”

The Archinquisitor colored and stood, “I ask your pardon, Princess Aksinya.”

The rest of the courtroom stood.

Aksinya didn’t lower her head, “Am I not owed an obeisance?”

The Archinquisitor bowed.  The courtroom bowed.  Aksinya stood and stepped onto the platform.  She moved to the Archinqusitor.  She put out her hand.  The Archinquisitor dropped to his left knee and touched her hand.  Aksinya continued, “It is not proper for you to sit above me, Father.  May I take your seat?”

The Archinquisitor glanced at her then lowered his head.  He choked out, “You may have my seat, Princess.”

Aksinya sat in the Bishop’s chair.  She smoothed her soiled dress, “We may now proceed.  Please continue, Archinquisitor.  I am ready to hear your accusations against me.”

The Archinquisitor hid his face for a moment.  He stood and stepped off the platform.

Aksinya did not make a friend.  The tension is what is her birthright.  The release is when the Freiherr declares it.  Then the rest of the release in the scene is the obeisance of the people to Aksinya.  Another tension begins with the Archinquisitor--he is angry and he has a job to do.  We shall see how Aksinya fares in the next example.

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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