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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Asylum

27 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Asylum

Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.

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 many 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.

I led you to it and even told you before that Aksinya's immigration status would come into play.  This is why Dobrushin's experience as a lawyer was so important in the first place.  The situation is solved in a moment.  This is another means of using tension and release.  The reader imagines that Aksinya's problems are over, then, bang, there is another hiccup that could affect her life and freedom.  Aksinya thinks she will hear about her guilt, but the reader knows that is just her strange way of thinking.  The real situation is her status as a Russian citizen.

The judge continued to speak.

Aksinya almost clapped her hands together, “Now he will tell me the truth about my guilt.”

Father Dobrushin shushed her.

Judge Richter stated, “Although, this Schöffengericht finds the Princess Aksinya not guilty, the State of Austria has received international letters concerning the Princess.  Both of them request her return to Russia, one for political reasons and the other as extradition for criminal prosecution.  The State of Austria has asked me to make a recommendation and a judgment based on the case at hand.  Since this is not directly related to the charges, only to any potential sentencing, there is no reason for the prosecution to respond.  Defense councilor would you like to make a statement in regard to these requests?”

Father Dobrushin stood, “Yes, Your Honor.  I have reviewed both letters as well as the laws of the State of Austria as it applies to this circumstance.  It is not in the Princess’ best interest to entertain either request from either Russian claim to authority.  She desires to continue as an émigré in Austria and be allowed self-determination in all related issues.  If the court will not grant her this freedom then she is willing to petition the State of Austria for asylum.”

Judge Richter wrote on the paper in front of him, “There will be no need for that, council.  I am granted the authority to reject either or both requests as a recommendation of this court.  It was only in the case of a guilty verdict that the Princess would be extradited to Russia without her consent.  Therefore, by the authority of the State of Austria granted to me, I declare again that you are not guilty of any crime tried in this court and that you are immediately released to the custody of Father Dobrushin Sergeevich Lopuhin.
The tension is that Aksinya will not go free and will be convicted of something, the release is when Dobrushin argues on her behalf and the judge recognizes that Aksinya could only be remanded to Russia if she were convicted of a crime.  There was no need for Aksinya to apply for asylum.  I didn't discuss asylum in any detail, but you can see the judge didn't want her to apply for it.  There are reasons for this, but I'll not get into the legal details.  Primarily, I want Aksinya and Dobrushin to be able to go to a certain place at the end of the novel.  An asylum request would mess up this possibility.  I should discuss it, but this isn't the time in the novel--don't show everything.
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, and my individual novel websites:,,,, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

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