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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Rank

9 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Rank

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 introduce the judges.  Note the use of a single description to describe all the judges.  The judges' description also includes some of the place as well. 

In addition, we get a revelation to the Court of Aksinya's rank.  We already know Aksinya's rank--it was reveled during the ecclisiastical trial.  Part of tension and release in this scene is the revelation of her rank to this court.  The fun is the revelation and the reaction of the court.  In this way, I can show you what the chief judge thinks.

The judges were all stern looking men.  They wore heavy powdered wigs.  The two professional judges were dressed in red judicial robes with white stoles and split cravats, while the robes of the two lay judges were black.  Everyone in the courtroom stood except Aksinya.

The presiding judge, The Honorable Gustav Richter sat at the center of the large desk.  He stared down his nose at Aksinya, “Girl why don’t you stand to honor the court?”

Aksinya slowly came to her feet, “I apologize, Your Honor.  I will stand to honor the court.  I did not before because of my rank.”

“Your rank?”  He glanced down at the papers in front of him, “Ah, your Rank.”  He immediately stood back up, “You are that one.  I’d forgotten, please accept my apologies Princess Aksinya.”

Aksinya continued to stand, “You need not address me as Princess.  That was the ruling of the ecclesiastical court.”

Father Dobrushin gently tugged Aksinya back into her seat, “The defense acknowledges the rank of the Princess Aksinya and reminds this Schöffengericht that ecclesiastical courts have no force of law in modern Austria.”

Judge Richter smiled, “That is so counselor.”  He glanced at Aksinya, “Princess, may we be seated?”

She nodded.

Judge Richter smiled again and motioned for the court to sit.  He smiled down at Aksinya, “Princess, I do ask your permission to sit higher than you as that is good order for a court in this case.”

Aksinya smiled again, “I do give you my permission, You Honor.”
“I’d rather not have to grant you my seat in any case.”  He grinned.  A titter traveled through the courtroom.  Judge Richter continued, “Lay Judge Amsel, will you please continue with the proceedings.”

Dobrushin uses this revelation to Aksinya's advantage.  He reminds the court of her rank and brings up the ecclesiastical trial.  The judge suriptisiously tells us how much he knows about the trial--down to the detail of the seat the archinquisitor had to give up to Aksinya.  We shall see what the trial will bring.

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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