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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Who are You?

2 May 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Who are You?

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.

Aksinya is a mixed up person.  She does not understand normal human relationships.  There are many people like that today.  She knows what she wants, but she doesn't exactly understand what these relationships mean.  The answer to the problem of the demon might be marriage, but Dobrushin wants her to understand about him.

“If I marry, I don’t intend it to be for less than life.  Do you think you could put up with me for that long?”

Dobrushin leaned back, “You ask that and you don’t even know who I am.”

“Then who are you?”

“You heard my given name in court, and you didn’t recognize it?”

She thought a moment, “Father Dobrushin Sergeevich Lopuhin.  Lopuhin is a name I recognize.  It is a name of Russian aristocracy.”

“My father was also a Count, and I was his third son.  Since I didn’t expect to inherit anything, I studied theology and law.  I was ordained in the Orthodox Church.  I think I told you before, I came to Wien at the request of the church to help the Russian refugees during the war and later the revolution.  I have been here for three years.  I’m twenty-six.”

Aksinya sat up, “You have everything prepared in life for you.  You are educated.  You are an aristocrat.  You are acknowledged.  You are a holy man.  You have the potential to be someone great.  In addition, you are handsome and kind.  You could have any honorable woman you wish.  Why would you want to marry me?”

Dobrushin bent toward her, “Because you need me.  I joined the church because I wanted to help others.  I became a lawyer to help others.  You are a person who was the most needy yet the most powerful and independent I have ever met.”

“If I marry you, I just want one thing.”

“What is that?” 

“You know how I desire.  You must swear to give me all the physical attention I want.”

He shook his head, “Is that all you really wish from me?”

“I always wanted to be held by my mother, she did not hold her children.  My adopted father was affectionate but my mother disapproved.  I have never had enough attention from anyone.”

“That’s all you want—attention.  Doesn’t love concern you at all?”

Aksinya lowered her eyes, “I know you have agape love for me or you wouldn’t have spent so much effort to help me. Ekaterina told me that the love of friends can grow by getting to know and spending time with each other.  I’m not certain we are friends yet either, but I would like to be your friend.”

“We are already friends.”

“Do you realize what could happen to you if what you propose doesn’t work?”
“I do realize the danger.”

The answer to the question of the danger of marrying Aksinya comes from The Book of Tobit.  The men who married Sarah were killed by the demon.  This played out until Tobias came with the angel and saved her.  In Tobit, Tobias was the man intended to be the husband of Sarah and this was the point of the book.  Additionally, Tobit is an allegory in its own right. 

The point here is to show an example of how conversation can be used to reveal the facts about a person.  In a novel, you don't want to tell the reader, you want to show the reader.  Revelation should come through conversation and through actions.  The use of conversation to give details is necessary.  In this conversation, we learn about Dobrushin and about Aksinya.  We begin to see why Aksinya thinks the way she does.  Her thinking was crippled by her childhood.

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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