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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Courtroom

6 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Courtroom

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.

Back to basic scene setting.  We start with characters and place.  The descriptions are all of real Austrian courtrooms from the period.  My novels are exact in their historical accuracy.  I strive to have every detail in place and every incident properly and exactly described.  The courtroom is the place, and it is described in detail.

Captain Gerber and Sergeant Nagel escorted Aksinya into the courtroom on the main floor of the Rathaus.  Aksinya beamed at the configuration of the room.  Unlike the chapel in the Cardinal’s house, this was the proper courtroom of Aksinya’s experience.  The roof was tall and impressive.    A tall and wide solid desk, the judge’s bench sat at one end.  Behind it was a large raised seal of the nation and emperor of Austria.  The seats for observers and witnesses within the courtroom were also light brown.  A rail with a center opening ran across the front between the desk and the benches.  Directly in front of the opening was a single chair that faced the solid desk, and behind the chair at either side, was a table each with a couple of regular chairs.  It all reminded Aksinya of her adopted father’s court when he sat in judgment of his people.  At that thought, her smiled turned down.  

Captain Gerber led Aksinya to the table on the left.  She sat.  He and Sergeant Nagel stood behind her.  After a few minutes, Father Dobrushin entered the courtroom.  He wasn’t dressed in Orthodox robes today.  He wore a dark suit without a priest’s collar.  He paused a moment and glanced around as though he was very familiar with the setting and felt very comfortable there.  The Father noted Aksinya and proceeded to the table where she sat.  Captain Gerber and Sergeant Nagel nodded to the priest.  At the table, he bowed and spoke in Russian, “Princess Aksinya, good morning.  Would you permit me to sit at the table with you?”

Aksinya almost did not recognize the priest.  He had trimmed his beard into the close rakish style worn by many Austrian men.  It looked very pleasant on his face.  Aksinya felt a twinge of desire that she hadn’t known for a long time and felt a little ashamed.  She mumbled, “Good morning, Father Dobrushin.” The volume of her voice increased slightly, “You should not show me so much deference otherwise the nobility of Austria and the Church will rise up against you.”

Father Dobrushin smiled, “In spite of that, I shall always honor you, Princess.”

The most important charcter description beyond Aksinya is Dobrushin.  We have a new charcter, so to speak.  Dobrushin isn't wearing his priestly robes.  He has trimmed his beard.  He looks much different than before.  There are precise reasons for each of these changes and the description.  I won't tell you here.  This is foreshadowing that you might be able to figure out.  The tension and release is obvious in this scene (chapter).  It is the result of the trial.  In a trial, as I've mentioned before, you have the biuld up to the verdict--that is the release.
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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