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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Why?

4 May 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Why?

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.

Rarely in a novel do we get the true reasons for why a character acts--or theoretically this is true.  That is in any novel, you should rarely get the true reasons why a character acts.  In this case, Dobrushin tells Aksinya why he is acting as he is.  This is a real reason that many people can understand well.  Is it the truth--it seems to be...

She smiled, “I would like to try this, but now, more than ever, I don’t wish to lose you.”
“I don’t want to die either.”
“If you found some other man to…”
“I don’t think you understand me at all.  I am not willing to give you to any other man.”
Aksinya stared at him in surprise, “Do you mean that?”
“Then if you don’t love me, you feel possessively toward me.  You paid my bills and took me under your protection.  It is almost as if you bought me,” she laughed. “Then you desire me that much.”
“I admit.  I do desire you.”
“What do you gain from this?  I am nothing.  I have nothing.”  She lowered her face, “There is a string of horror in the wake of my life.  It is all because of my choices.  You would not obtain wealth.  You would not obtain innocence.  You would not gain notoriety.  The opposite is true.  My name has been paraded in the papers as a sorceress.”
He took her hands in his, “Yet I do gain something very important.  I wish to see this demon.  As you said, if you have seen a demon, then there must be God.  And I gain a person in my life who has truly touched spiritual things.”
“Tainted by spiritual things.”
“In the church we promote the physical representation of heavenly things.  Each item, the icons, the cross and crucifix, the banners, the baptistery, the altar, the church itself stand in place of their spiritual realities.  The incense represents the smells, the metaepithumia, before the altar in heaven.  The feel of the water is the spirit of God.  The taste of the communion is the flavor of salvation.  These things are only shadows of their reality, but you, you alone of all the people I have ever met, claim, and indeed show proof of not just the symbols of heavenly things, but the reality of spiritual things.”
“This is important to you?”
“The most important thing to me.  Perhaps, it is due to my lack of faith.  You asked me in the past if I believed in God.  No one ever asked me that before.  When you sought solace from the God you knew existed but could not reach, I sought to see God within you.”
“And you think you found Him?”
“I did find Him.  Before, I believed, now I know.  It is as simple as that.  If you imagine that I found an icon in you, an icon that is both a physical and a spiritual manifestation of reality, then that is why I desire you enough to face a demon in order to marry you.”
“Perhaps you were sent to me for this purpose.”
“Perhaps everything in your life has pointed to this purpose.  Dear God, Princess, you know.  You know the Lord God almighty exists.  You know the spiritual world is real.  Not only have you seen it, you have manipulated it.”  He released her right hand and pulled her left hand into his.  He stroked the many scars on it.  “When I saw these marks, I knew what you had been.  When I heard your confession, I knew what you could become.  I am willing to give up everything because of this.”
“For me?”
“For the purpose within you.”

Whether you realize it or not, one of the great purposes of humans in history and today is to seek the spiritual.  Specifically, most people are seeking God or gods or to understand the universe.  These are all the same things.  Dobrushin represents this desire and these people (almost every person).  He is a seeker who has finally discovered a way to know the spiritual--it is through Aksinya.  Could you have ever imagined that through a sorceress and a demon, one could see God.  This is the point Dobrushin makes--if you see demons, there must be a God.  This is an important component in the Theme of this novel.

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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