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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Verdict

30 March 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Verdict

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 a real trial, it is an inquisition--did you expect it to be fair or for the inquisitors not to be evil?  The archinquisitor's job was to bring punishment to people who broke ecclesiastical law.  That is what he does best.  Aksinya's job was to protect her friends.  We knew the outcome of the trial--that was an anticipation of the reader.  The end state wasn't fully realized--that is what we are getting to now.

The Archinquisitor tapped his paper, “The innocence of these three is still in question.  I wish to question them.  First, Herr Taaffe, did you know the Princess Aksinya was a sorceress?”

“Princess…?” He glanced at Aksinya, “I knew the Countess was a sorceress. Yes.”

Aksinya groaned, “You need not confess to such a thing.  I will not lie, but I don’t wish them to lie on my account.”

The Archinquisitor grinned, “Herr Taaffe are you lying?”

“No, I knew she was a sorceress.  That is why I sought her out.”

Aksinya collapsed in her chair, “I am guilty and not they.”

“We shall see.  How about you, Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.  Did you know the Princess Aksinya was a sorceress?

“Yes, I became her apprentice for that reason.”

Aksinya cried, “I tricked them.  I forced them.”

“And you, Sister Margarethe?”

“I knew.  She never harmed anyone.  This I swear.”

“But you knew and never informed your Reverend Mother or your priest, the Abbot.”

“I never told them.”


“Because I love the Countess.  I would do anything for her—to protect her.”

Aksinya let out a great cry.

Archinquisitor Gallo smacked his lips, “Herr von Taaffe, you affianced, the Princess Aksinya, yet you knew she was a sorceress.”

Aksinya yelled, “He never affianced me.”

The Archinquisitor wheeled toward her, “Why did you not?”

Natalya spoke quietly, “Because I seduced, Herr von Taaffe to protect her.”

Aksinya roared, “Shut up, Natalya.  You…you.  Please don’t do this.  I already told you I am a sorceress.  What do you gain by smearing my friends?”

The Archinquisitor smiled, “I think the guilt of all these individuals can be attributed to the Princess Aksinya.  Therefore, I am ready to pronounce my verdict on all of them.  This verdict shall stand unless revoked by Rome.”  He paused for a moment then continued, “If I had the authority, I would ask that you,” he pointed at Aksinya, “be burned at the stake.  I don’t have that power, therefore, I pronounce the Princess Aksinya guilty of necromancy and sorcery.  She is not Catholic and therefore cannot be excommunicated.  She shall be denied communion and succor from the Holy Catholic Church all her life long.  She is a notorious sinner who has brought many to ruin.  She will not be allowed in any building or property owned by this Church.  She shall not be acknowledged by any leader of the Holy Catholic Church as nobility nor aristocracy.  She is to be shunned by commoner and noble alike until her life ends.  This edict with a similar recommendation shall be sent to the Orthodox Church and to all other official Christian bodies.  They shall judge her themselves.”
Aksinya smiled and nodded.

Ernst, Natalya, and Sister Margarethe for all their faults are still honest and honorable people.  Aksinya wanted to protect them, but were unwilling to protect themselves.  They wanted to protect Aksinya.  Thus the truthful exchange--they want to take the attention from Aksinya to themselves.  They were largely unsuccessful.  The punishment for Aksinya and hte others has just begun--they will not be able to recover so easily from the verdict of the Church.  This affects them socially as well as religiously.

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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