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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Custody

28 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Custody

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.

Aksinya was placed into the custody of Dobrushin.  In the modern mind, this doesn't sound like such a bad thing--although to some, this might sound quaint.  To a person of the time, this is enormous.  Dobrushin took responsibility for Aksinya in every way.  He is responsible for her debts and her life.  How many people do you think Dobrushin did this for?  How many people were legally placed into his custody?  I likely should have discussed this in more detail in the conversation in the text, but I didn't think it was important enough.  The point is that Dobrushin has taken Aksinya completely into his responsibility and this is a big deal.

Aksinya stood and the rest of the court stood.  Aksinya put out her hand, but by the time she could get out a single word, the judges were gone.  She stuttered, “Wait…”

Father Dobrushin asked, “What did you want, Princess?”

“He gave me into your custody—why?”

“I asked for it in the court papers.”

“But why?”

“Because, I want to be the one to help you from now on.  It is official.  You report to me in all issues of your employment, schooling, and living arrangements.”

Natalya hugged Aksinya, “I have to go, Princess, Herr von Taaffe is waiting for me.”

Aksinya took her hand, “I pray this is not the last time I shall see you.”

“If it is the last or not, I will never forget you, Princess.  Go with all the blessings of the earth.”  She moved quickly to where Ernst von Taaffe stood at the side of the room.  He made a slight bow toward Aksinya, but he didn’t smile.

“And all the blessings of the heavens,” Father Dobrushin continued for her.  “Come, Princess, the day is not over and we have work that must be finished before tomorrow.”  He placed his long coat over her shoulders and started for the door.

Aksinya rushed to catch up to him, “What must we do before tomorrow?”

“We will speak about it at dinner.  First, we must negotiate the reporters.  They will take your picture.”

“I look terrible.”

“You won’t look any better if you don’t smile.  I suggest that you hold your shoulders very straight, act like the princess you are, and smile at every opportunity.”

“Yes…yes, I shall.”

“Then come on.”
Aksinya took his arm.  Before they left the Rathaus, Sergeant Nagel brought Aksinya’s blankets and the Greek Bible to them.  Father Dobrushin put them under his arm and carried them for Aksinya.

The parting with Ernst is especially to note.  In any novel, don't show everything.  There is no real resolution to their relationship or their time together.  I didn't mean for there to be.  In real life, there is not always and many times never any resolution to relationships and times together.  The most powerful resolution is death and death never brings resolution to relationships or time.  Death simply cuts it off--thus, I cut off Aksinya and Ernst's relationship.  It is cut with a bow--that's all that is this point.

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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