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Friday, March 22, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Unresolved Anticipation

22 March 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Unresolved Anticipation

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 is the rest of the scene from yesterday.  Note that Frau Mauer immediately concludes that Aksinya has committed suicide.  We know she didn't, and we know the reasons why she cut herself.  No one else does, and they likely would not believe Aksinya.  This type of anticipation does not need to be resolved in a novel.  In fact, I don't resolve it in this novel.  I do have Aksinya explain herself to Frau Becker, but it is doubtful that the Frau would believe Aksinya.

Frau Mauer grabbed Frau Becker’s arm, “The sorceress has committed suicide.  She is bleeding everywhere.”

Frau Becker’s face clouded and her eye twitched, “Get the Secretary, immediately.”

“What will you do?”

“Just get the secretary.”

Frau Mauer nodded vigorously and ran off. 

Frau Becker grabbed the kitchen axe from the wood pile and ran to the corridor that held Aksinya’s cell.  The guards didn’t attempt to stop her.  She glanced at Aksinya and the growing pool of blood and chopped at the lock on the door.  The old wood splintered satisfactorily under the axe and the door swung open.  Frau Mauer grabbed Aksinya’s wrist and immediately the flow of blood stopped.

Secretary Schwab followed by Otto stopped at the entrance to the cell.  Frau Mauer didn’t wait for them to say anything, she yelled at them, “Get the doctor now.  I’ve stopped the blood, but she may be dying.”

They almost trampled Frau Mauer

Again, in this scene there is the use of understatement and to some degree humor.  Humor does have a place in the grimmest of circumstances.  I think this does show how it can be used to ease the tension in the scene.  I don't wish to dilute the power of the events, but I do wish to distract from the horror of what happend to Aksinya to the character's reactions around her.

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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