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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, They were all Ruined

2 April 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, They were all Ruined

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 fully realizes the predicament the demon has put her in.  She has lost all her friends and many acquaintances.  She is afraid that anyone who has helped her or who has been close to her may be tainted and affected by the demon.  She is close to the truth, but Father Dobrushin and Ekaterina have a faith and a spiritual protection some of the others didn't have.  We shall see if they are also ruined.

Ekaterina sat beside Aksinya and put her arms around her.

Aksinya sniffled, “Aren’t you afraid you will be tainted by me.  Everyone else who has befriended me has been ruined.”

Ekaterina held her closer and clucked, “Don’t be foolish.  We know all about you.  We won’t abandon you.”

“You should.”

Father Dobrushin stuck his hands behind his back, “We will not.”  He waited a moment then asked, “Why did you leave the Ecclesia?  I told you not to go.”

“I had to find Natalya.  I had to know if she was alive.  I love her.  I didn’t realize…”

“You didn’t realize…”

“All of that was the demon’s doing.  He visited me while I was in the Cardinal’s house.  He told me he had planned everything.”  Tears choked Aksinya’s words, “He told me he allowed my family to be killed.”

Ekaterina pulled Aksinya’s head against her and stroked her hair.

Aksinya moaned, “I caused them all such pain.  I wish I were dead.  If I were dead, the world would have been such a better place for everyone.”

Ekaterina shook her gently, “You are not dead, and the Dear Lord doesn’t wish you dead.  Now, your life’s work must be to right this wrong.  Do you wish to add more sin and evil to what already exists.”

Aksinya sat up and drew her sleeve across her eyes, “I’m afraid what I’ve done can never be made right.”

Father Dobrushin sighed, “Perhaps it cannot, but likewise, you can’t bear all the blame for what has happened.”

“I willingly bear it.”

“You may not bear any more than that which is your own sin.  Others made choices.  They can only be held responsible for those choices—not you.”

“I face a trial in the courts of Wien, now.”

Ekaterina smiled, “And we will do everything we can to help you.”

“Their mind is already made up too.  When I had my preliminary hearing, they told me, I will go to the workhouse to pay off my debt.  I will go to prison for beating Natalya.  My aunt and uncle won’t help me.  They hate me.  They lost their position in the community and among the nobility.  Herr von Taaffe has lost the backing of his father.  I sent him away before.  He cannot help me.  I have no money.  All of my goods, jewelry, and clothing have been sold.  They still weren’t enough to pay my debts.  I, even now, have a contract with a demon, and I pray to God I could be rid of him.”

Aksinya has reached the low point of her torment.  She realizes nothing can be done and she has given up.  Aksinya isn't the kind of person who would take her own life, but she acknowledges that her life has harmed so many others, she might as well be dead.  Not many can truely say this.  This is a realization and a powerful statement from her mouth.  Ekaterina answers rightly--you don't want to add more evil to your account--or to the world.

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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