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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Silent

13 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Silent

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.

Aksinya does not understand the elements of the trial--as the judge notes, she is artless.  Can she lie?  She she did, and she has.  This is another carefully sculptured event.  Surely what the characters say is truth--not so.  This is something that can be powerfully used.  We know Aksinya does lie.  She lies artfully and very well.  She does so without any compunction.  We also know she desired to repent and change.  The question is how much has she changed?

“Now, listen closely, Princess Aksinya.  Do you plead guilty, not guilty, or do you wish to remain silent.”

She sat up straight, “I surely am gu…”

Father Dobrushin stood, “The Princess wishes to plead not guilty.”  He took a step to her side, “Please, Princess.  If you plead guilty, the court will have no other recourse than to immediately sentence you.  This is not a question of sin—it is a question of civil and criminal law.”

She whispered, “I don’t want to do anything wrong.  Are you certain I should say not guilty?  I am guilty of many wrongs.”

“If you are uncertain, just say you remain silent.”

“Very well.” Aksinya faced the judge, “Of guilt I am certain that I am guilty of many sins, but of this trial, Father Dobrushin tells me I should at least remain silent.  He is my priest, and I follow his commands in this.”

Judge Richter covered his face again.  After a moment, he glanced at Father Dobrushin and shook his head, “Was she like this at the ecclesiastical trial.”

“I was not there, Your Honor, but I expect so.”

“She is truly artless.  It seems she cannot lie.”

Aksinya stared at the judge, “Did I say something wrong?”

A titter ran through the court again.

“No, Princess, you did not say anything wrong.  You are very fortunate that Father Dobrushin, that is Herr Lopuhin, is advising you.”

Aksinya smiled.

We are building the impression of the chief judge.  The point is to gradually show the readers the judge's change to favoring Aksinya.  The judge has not been obviously against Aksinya, but he is a judge.  The point is to let the reader imagine the judge might be on her side.  The tension development in this is obvious.  The tension will build with the witnesses to the court.  We shall see more tomorrow.

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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