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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Natural Breaks

21 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Natural Breaks

Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to 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 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.

Natural breaks occur throughout life.  The point is for the author to take advantage of them.  In this example, the judge releases the court for lunch.  This is a natural break.  I could simply let time pass and immediately move back into the trial, but here is the perfect time to allow Aksinya and Dobrushin to speak to one another.  Here is also an opportunity to develop more pathos through Aksinya.

“Therefore, I release this Schöffengericht for luncheon.  At one we shall begin with the assault and battery charges.  Sergeant Nagel, there is no reason to return the Princess to her cell.”  Judge Richter stood and the other judges followed him out their respective doors.  The courtroom began to empty.  A clump of reporters stood at the back and waited for Father Dobrushin and Aksinya to walk out the main door.

A policeman conferred with Sergeant Nagel, and the Sergeant motioned to Father Dobrushin, “Sir, you may follow me to the private luncheon room in the Rathaus.  Judge Richter instructed me that you should dine there.”
“Thank you.”  Aksinya and Father Dobrushin followed the Sergeant out the side door of the courtroom.

There is some interesting revelation in this scene.  The judge doesn't send Aksinya back to her cell.  He obviously trusts Dobrushin and that Aksinya is not dangerous.  This is a foreshadowing of the next scene in the courtroom.  The reader shouldn't take heart with this simple revelation, but it does show that Aksinya has not lost the potential for a just trial.

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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