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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Revelation

7 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Revelation

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.

Revelations come in all kinds of varieties.  In this case, it is a small revelation for the theme and for the plot.  It is about "love."

Father Dobrushin smiled, “In spite of that, I shall always honor you, Princess.”

“You are very kind to me, thank you.  Please sit, as I have no other defenders.  I’m glad Matushka Ekaterina chose not to come.”

“She would have come except Father Makar would not permit it.”

“Have I caused another problem?”

“It is not you…”

“Then the demon?”

“Father Makar has not been happy with you since you escaped to the Ecclesia.”

“He believes I am insane.”

Father Dobrushin’s brow creased.

Aksinya lowered her eyes, “I overheard…”

“So I guessed.”  Father Dobrushin pulled a stack of papers out of his briefcase, “Princess Aksinya, I intend to defend you to the best of my ability.  I don’t wish you to go to prison or the workhouse.”

She crossed her arms, “I asked before, why would you care?”

He folded his hands, “Because you think the way you do, that is difficult to explain in a way you might understand.  A normal person would not ask why, they would simply be grateful for the assistance.”

“Do you think I am insane?”

Father Dobrushin took her hands, “Look at me, Aksinya.”

She raised her eyes to his.

“I do not think you are insane.”

“Then would you tell me why you are helping me?”

He laughed, “You are a Russian Princess.  That should be enough for any honest Russian.”

“Father Makar doesn’t think so.  Does that mean he is not an honest Russian?”

Father Dobrushin drew in a deep breath, “Father Makar is an honest Russian, but he thinks your problems are all mental.”

“If they are all mental, doesn’t that mean he should show me even greater sympathy?”

Father Dobrushin smiled, “Sometimes you astound me.”

“Is that good?  Is that why you are helping me?”

He cleared his throat, “I am helping you because you are a Russian and a refugee.”

“I know you have helped many refugees, Ekaterina told me, but is that the only reason?”

“You confessed to Christ through me.  Since that time I have been determined to help you.”

Aksinya smiled, “You are my priest and confessor.  I am glad you haven’t given up on me.”  She glanced away, “Ekaterina has also been a great help to me,” she finished quickly, “but I am glad she is not here to see my shame.”  She brought her eyes back to Father Dobrushin, “Do you love me like she loves me?  Do you think she loves me like a friend now?  Is that why you are helping me?”

“About that, you’ll have to ask the Matushka.  She does love you, and I love you.  I’m not certain I am your friend, but I would like to be.”

“Because I astound you?”

“That and many other things.”  Father Dobrushin pulled out a fountain pen and began to organize his papers. 

Aksinya is very bright.  She is not so good with people or social interactions.  She is ignorant of them.
She asks a question that is very important to her--it is probably less important to the readers and likely of great important to Dobrushin, but which he doesn't want to address.  The question is simple: why are you defending me?  The answer is not so simple and Aksinya wants an answer--sh demands an answer.  The answer is not given completely because Dobrushin doesn't really want to touch it.  I really wanted the readers to get this point--it has been on going since Aksinya was in the Ekklesia.  The question is about love.  Aksinya doesn't really understand love.  Ekatrina tried to tell her about one type of love, but there are many types of love.  Aksinya knows this and is seeking this in a larger sense.  Dobrushin basically tells her he is defending her because he loves her, but the reader catches the conotation--like Ekatrina loves Aksinya.  The question is still on the table: why is Dobrushin defending Aksinya?  We still don't know the degree of suffering Dobrushin has gone through to defend her.  We will eventually find out.
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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