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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, the Facts

14 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, the Facts

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.

The trial begins in earnest.  The chief judge goes directly to the point--the facts of the case from Aksinya. 

Judge Richter studied his papers for a moment, “Now, Princess Aksinya, I wish to ascertain the facts of the case as you understand them.”

Aksinya nodded.

“There are specific details of time and place, but generally, tell me about your house across from Sacré Coeur.  How did you acquire it and how did you take care of the bills.”

“My courtier acquired the house for me.  I was both surprised and pleased to learn of this, because that allowed me to have a place for my family’s household items.”

“Your courtier?  Who is this person?”

“He is the demon I called from the pit.  His name is Asmodeus.”

A quiet groan went through the courtroom.

Judge Richter put his head in his hands, “Princess Aksinya, do you realize by making such claims I could incarcerate you in a mental institution?”

Aksinya clenched her fists, “Your Honor, the Pope’s ecclesiastical trial found me guilty of calling a demon and sorcery.  If you must send me to such a place, I insist you send my ecclesiastical accusers as well.”

The judge’s mouth fell open.  He steepled his hands and lowered his head, “You do have a point there, Princess.”

Father Dobrushin stood again, “Your Honor, it was established by an ecclesiastical court that Princess Aksinya was guilty of sorcery and of calling a demon.  Any statement she should make concerning this issue has been established by a court acknowledged though not accepted by the state of Austria.”

“Yes,” Judge Richter breathed, “Yes, I understand.”  He glanced at the other judges to his right and left and pronounced, “I instruct the other judges to take this into consideration.  Although unprecedented, this may be considered a fact in finding for this court.”

Father Dobrushin bowed, “Thank you, Your Honor.”

The judge let out a deeper sigh, “I also postulate that we will not be able to interview this creature who contracted the house and the goods.”  He shook his head in anticipation of Aksinya’s answer.
Aksinya looked confused.

Aksinya may not fully understand everything that is going on, but she is very smart.  She was accused of a crime by the ecclesiastical court and found guilty.  How can acknowledgement of the crime she was found guilty of in one court lead to a finding of insanity?  This is a wonderful paradox that the judge must himself acknowledge and allow to pass.  The irony of the situation shouldn't be lost on the reader.

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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