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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Paid in Full

20 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Paid in Full

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.

Now we find out what happened to Aksinya's debt.  It seems that a priest paid the debt for her.  What priest might that be?  We can guess that the priest who paid Aksinya's debt was Dobrushin.  What do you think?

Judge Richter pursed his lips and looked down the witness list, “Bring in the next witness.  That is Herr Frump.  He holds the next greatest claim against the defendant.”

Herr Frump entered the courtroom and took the witness chair.  He was a jovial man with a little too much weight.  He wore a stained apron under his suit coat and held his butcher’s hat in his hands.

The Judge began at a little faster clip that before, “Herr Frump, please give us your full name and occupation.”

Herr Frump grinned, “I am Vladimir Frump, a butcher for the Sacré Coeur district in Wien.  But I am not certain why I am here, Your Honor.”

“Why is that Herr Frump?”

“I have no current claim against the Countess.”

“How is that?”

“After the courts disbursement from the sale of goods in the house, a priest came by my shop and settled the bill.”

Judge Richter pawed through the papers before him.  He turned to the junior Lay Judge, “Lay Judge Amsel, are any of the monetary claims against the defendant still outstanding?”

“No, Judge Richter, they have all been settled.”

Judge Richter laid down his papers, “In that case, there can be no criminal liability against Princess Aksinya.  Therefore, is there any reason to continue to question these witnesses?  Prosecutor?  Defense?”

Father Dobrushin put up his hand, “Presiding Judge, before you release the witnesses, I’d like to ask each a single question.”

“I see no reason why not.  You may begin with Herr Frump.”

Father Dobrushin stepped up to the bench, “Herr Frump, did you contract with the Countess or with someone else.”

“I contracted with Anatov Aznabaev.  He said he represented the Countess.” 

“So your claims were really against Anatov Aznabaev and never against the Countess, yet you accepted the Countess’ goods against the debt of Anatov Aznabaev.”

Herr Furmp’s merchant smile slipped into a frown, “I didn’t think I would be on trial here.  My claims were paid.”

Father Dobrushin turned toward the Judge, “Yet, Your Honor, the claims were most properly against Anatov Aznabaev.  Why should the Princess Aksinya not have an equal share in the claims against this man?  It seems to me that these claimants have all been made whole, but she has born the entire burden of a debt that she did not cause.”

Aksinya spoke very clearly, “Although I did not know Herr Frump, I did benefit from his business.  I ate his very fine beef and blessed his meats at my table every night.  I do not wish to make any claim against him or his business.”

Herr Frump stood at the witness chair and bowed deeply, “God bless your words, Dear Lady.  I felt myself lucky to balance my books after such an incident.  I am more than blessed by hearing you disburse me of any guilt as well.”

Father Dobrushin drew his hand across his face, “That is not the outcome I desired or expected.”

Judge Richter laughed and the rest of the court broke into mirth.  The judge held up his hand, “I do under my authority as the presiding judge of this Schöffengericht pronounce all the charges related to theft dismissed and absolved.  I will state in the official records that they were brought wrongly and with prejudice.  This will be presented to all the claimants along with a potential petition to be used by the Princess in any civil litigation against them.  She shall be able to claim in civil trial any difference between her benefit and what she was forced to pay.  I shall leave the details to her representative, Herr Lopuhin.  Herr Lopuhin, will that please you?”

“That pleases the defense.”


“The prosecution agrees with the judge’s assessment.”

This is the point of this particular part in this scene.  A priest has paid all of Aksinya's bills in full.  If you note that this is a semi-allegory, then you might get the point already.   If you didn't, that's okay too.  Aksinya's bill have been paid which means she can't be guilty of theft.  Or rather that if she was guilty of theft, the theft has gone away.  As Dobrushin  points out, the demon is also guilty and to the main more guilty than Aksinya, then why isn't he being punished.  There is great power in this defense and this situation.

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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