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Monday, April 8, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, the Court

8 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, the Court

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.

A really fun means of conveying information to your readers is to have one character present information about another character to them.  In this example, Father Dobrushin relates to Aksinya about the press concerning her ecclesiastical trial and about her.  This is a great means of exciting the interest of your readers.  Readers what to know about your characters.  They want to know everything they can about the main character.  The relation of information through the mouth of another  character builds knowledge and information in the mind of the reader.  Especially powerful are the impressions of others.

The prosecutors came to their table.  They nodded toward Aksinya and to Father Dobrushin.  Father Dobrushin stepped over and shook their hands.  Aksinya heard only quiet greetings between them.  The priest sat down again and continued to glance through his papers.  The benches of the courtroom began to fill behind them.  Aksinya fidgeted for a while then asked Father Dobrushin, “Why are there so many people in the benches?  Is there an important trial later?”

Father Dobrushin’s lips turned down, “You haven’t seen the papers for a while.”

“They don’t give me anything to read in the jail.  I only have the Greek Bible you brought me.”

“You have been on the front page of every paper in the city and perhaps Austria since well before the ecclesiastical trial two weeks ago.”

“I have?”

“If you look closely, the men on the back row are all photographers and reporters.  They are not allowed to take pictures in the courtroom.  When you leave here, they will all try to snap your picture.”

“Really?  What did they say about me?”

“Nothing flattering.”

“But what did they say?”

“They called you a witch and a sorceress.”

“That’s pretty innocuous and besides, it’s true.”

“There were other things less flattering, but mostly they called the Cardinal and the inquisitors to task for trying a mentally ill girl in an ecclesiastical court.”

Aksinya’s brow wrinkled, “The mentally ill girl was me?”


“Thank you.”

“Why this time?”

“Because you believe me.”  She glanced at him from the sides of her eyes and sighed, “I’ll try not to bother you again.”

“When?  Now?  It’s too late.”
At that moment, two judges came through the door at the right and two judges through the door at the left behind the large desk.  The bailiff of the court struck his staff against the floor, “Hear ye, hear ye, this Schöffengericht is convened in the name of Emperor Charles the first of Austria and the Republic of German Austria.  I present The Honorable Gustav Richter, The Honorable Artur Kuester, Lay Judge Albert Vogler, and Lay Judge Oscar Amsel.  May the justice of the Lord God Almighty reign in all the affairs of men.”

Notice that the knowledge about the press's impression of Aksinya is only partially given.  Father Dobrushin didn't read the story to her or give her the full information, he simply provides his impression.  This is an effective means to tantalize your readers and your characters.  Like real life, usually the incidents are forgotten and less important, but there is a tie to the rest of the novel--the reporters are waiting to take her picture...

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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