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Monday, April 1, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, a New Cell

1 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, a New Cell

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.

New chapter, new scene setting.  The place is set and the time is amorphous although it is when Aksinya awakes.  I did want to leave it a little open--how do you know time when you are in a basement cell?  The waking and sleeping and the time you are fed is all you know.  Note, the setting is about stuff as well as the person (Aksinya).  Then we add characters...

Aksinya woke in the dreary cell they had assigned her under the Rathaus at Wien.  She was alone.  Frau Becker had allowed her to take the blankets marked with the bloody crosses at each corner.  She still wore the dress Ekaterina had given her.  Sloppy crosses in her blood still marked it also.  Aksinya felt somewhat safe.  She recited her rosary.  That was her true comfort.

She heard steps outside her cell and rose from her knees to sit on the hard cot she had here.  There was a knock on the door to warn her and the guard called out, “Fraulein, prepare yourself and stand away from the door.”

Aksinya knew the drill by now, “I’m ready.”

The small hatch at eye level in the door opened.  The matron glanced inside.  Aksinya showed her hands, and a heavy key clanked in the lock.  The door opened.  The matron nodded to her.  A male guard stood behind her.  The matron motioned, “Your priest and a Frau are here to visit you.  I will remain with you, if you wish.”

Aksinya shook her head.

Father Dobrushin and Mataruska Ekaterina entered the cell.

Aksinya smiled then that turned down a little, “Where is Father Makar?”

Ekaterina and Father Dobrushin glanced at one another.  Ekaterina shifted her mouth, “He would not come.”
Aksinya glanced down.  When she looked up again, the cell door was shut and the two stood alone with her.  Aksinya tried to smile again.  She opened her hands, “It isn’t much more than I had at the Ecclesia…”

I am not trying to be secretive, but I am trying to use indirect means to tell you about Aksinya's descent.  She has gone from the pinnacle of life to the very bottom.  This was the work of the demon in every way. 

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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