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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Desire

5 May 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Desire

Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.

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 many 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.

I haven't written much about ending scenes, but there is some art in this.  Generally, when you have completed the goal of the scene and you have closed the last release of the scene, you should quickly get off the stage.  The how to get off the stage is easier than scene setting.  Usually, you want to point to the next scene--this is the output of the scene.  The completion of the goals for this scene is the agreement of Aksinya with Dobrushin's plan.  I give you two ties into the earlier parts of the novel.  The first is the question of virtue.  The second is the question of desire.  Then we get off the stage with the output of the scene--leads to the input into the next scene.
Aksinya sighed, “Your words confuse me, but I am always very simple and direct.  I shall marry you.  I shall do as you ask and require.  I shall pray with you and for you.  All of this to be rid of this demon that eats away at my life and my soul.  It is a fair bargain to trade my virtue to you for all you have done for me.”

“There you are wrong, Princess.  You can desire without sin when the object of desire is appropriate.  You would not give your virtue to me and I would not give my virtue to you.  We would rather retain that virtue together in our mutual desire as husband and wife.”

Aksinya turned a gentle smile to him, “I see.  Sister Margarethe taught me you can love without lust.  Do you intend to teach me that I can love God and still possess desire?”

“I would teach you that you can still love and have desire.”  He smiled, “But you are only allowed desire for me.”

“I see.”

“We should accomplish this soon before the demon can work anymore mischief in your life.  The first step is marriage.” 

“Will Father Makar marry us?”

“I don’t know.” Father Dobrushin lowered his eyes.

“What are you not telling me?”

“It is nothing.  We will ask him tonight.  Perhaps he will do as I ask.”
They quickly finished their dinner and Father Dobrushin hired a carriage to take them to the Ecclesia.

The output of the scene is about Father Makar and marriage followed by the get off the stage description.  The get off the stage part is usually an action statement that ends the scene or ties it into the next.  In this case it is the statement that they quickly finished dinner and the took a carriage to the Ecclesia.  The full output of the scene is the fact they are going to be married and that they wish Father Makar to do it.  This combined with the rest of the end of scene description provide the output and the input into the next scene.

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, and my individual novel websites:,,,, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

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