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Friday, April 12, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, the Pleading

12 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, the Pleading

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.

In any modern trial, you must have the reading of the charges and the pleading of the defendant.  This is an important part for both the novel and for the reader.  This gives the reader an idea of what the main character is accused of.  We knew generally, but not specifically. 

Judge Richter continued, “Now Bailiff, read the charges against the Princess.”

The Bailiff stepped to the front beside Aksinya and read, “Princess Aksinya Georgovna Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov also known as Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna you are charged with willful assault and battery against the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.  You are further charged with engaging in deceitful loans and business practice that did result in the theft of over a hundred thousand marks sterling.  The exact amounts and specific items are listed as an appendix in the court documents.”

Aksinya sat with a strange expression on her face.  She stared expectantly at the Bailiff.  A slight tremble shook his paper.  Aksinya asked, “Is that all?”

The courtroom laughed again.

She glanced around.

Judge Richter held his hand in front of his face.  After a moment, he choked, “If it isn’t enough, I suppose we could add a few more.”

Aksinya turned toward Father Dobrushin.  He covered his face, “Princess, those are quite enough.”

Judge Richter gave a sigh, “Yes, I was making a joke.  That is all the charges.”  His voice became stern, “Princess Aksinya, do you understand the charges?”

She nodded.

“You must speak, Princess.”

“I do understand them, and I am sorry for them.”

Father Dobrushin whispered to her, “This is not a confession.  Just answer the judge’s questions.”

Do you notice Aksinya's approach.  There is more than one reason for this.  The first is her spiritual issues.  She does not believe her repentance is enough.  The second is her understanding of law.  Her father, as the nobility, gave the law in her county.  She understands law in terms of the nobility and especially the Russian legal system under the Russian nobility.  This is not how modern law works and it is not how modern Austria works.  The problem is a cultural misunderstanding.  I don't tell the reader this, but it is the underlying problem. 

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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