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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Boston

11 June 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Boston

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 don't like prologues or postscripts for novels.  If you want to add a postscript, I recommend you just tack it on to the end.  This makes it part of the novel.  The point here is to show a big change and set a new scene.  In the previous scene, I already showed you that Dobrushin was planning on going to the United States of America and taking Aksinya with him.  This scene is the get off the stage scene.  In a stage play, you set the stage and let the actors and actresses play their parts.  At the end of the play, you want to wrap everything up and get the actors and actresses off stage--literally or figuratively.

Aksinya swung off the streetcar and skipped down the Union Park in Boston.  She wore a tweed dress and a jaunty tweed cap.  She carried a leather briefcase her Dobrushushka had given her at her graduation only a month before.  It reminded her of the briefcase she owned when she attended Sacré Coeur, but she never remembered carrying that one herself.  She was very proud of this briefcase—it held her diploma in linguistics and teaching from Radcliffe College.  Radcliffe was one of the few woman’s college she could attend since all the Catholic ones excluded her.  She had mostly escaped notoriety, but still she and Dobrushushka attended a very small Russian Orthodox Church near his office. 
Aksinya spotted Saint John the Baptizer Greek Orthodox Church across the street and started counting the buildings down from it.

I move the scene to Boston in the USA.  The exact time isn't necessary, but the assumed time is during the day--not too early or late.  The next detail is the character and her clothing.  The narration moves quickly to fill the reader in about what Aksinya has bee doing.  It also gives the reason for her being in the place and at that time.

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, and my individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel,,,, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

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