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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Hope

6 June 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Hope

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.

In developing tension and release, one of the most powerful tools available to an author is the ability to give the reader and the characters hope and then dashing those hopes apart.  In this case, we get an angel.  You knew an angel was coming.  It had to happen.  You know this novel is a semi-allegory of the book of Tobit.  In Tobit, the angel Raphael helps Tobias and Sara.  Therefore, in this novel, you should expect the help of Raphael.  The problem is just what Aksinya said--an angel can't heal.  We knew this from before the statements in the novel.

A bright light flashed in the room followed by a low tone like a bell, and another being stood near the fireplace.

Aksinya shuddered, “Did the demon return?”

The creature was tall and bright.  Its features were so bright they were difficult to discern in the darkened room.  Still the being seemed to smile, “Do not be afraid.”

Aksinya’s voice came lower, “It is an angel.  I can tell.”

The angel bowed to them, “Princess Aksinya, Dobrushin Lopuhin, I am the angel Raphael.  I’m sorry I’m late, but Upper Egypt is much further from here than it was from Ecbatana.”

Dobrushin cried out, “Can’t you see she is dying.  Heal her.  Please, in God’s name, heal her.”

Aksinya touched Dobrushin’s face again, “My love, angels can’t heal, only God can do that.”

Raphael opened his hands and smiled again, “Only God can heal.  Or that other thing.”

Aksinya’s eyes fluttered.  She whispered, “I have renounced sorcery.  I would rather die than ever use it again.”

Raphael glowed brighter, “In that case, I am allowed to reverse some of the actions of that demon in the world.  He should never have been able to harm you, Princess Aksinya.”  The angel stepped closer to her. 
One of the best ways to power tension and release is to build and remove hope.  In this scene, the hope is build by the appearance of the angel.  The hope is that the dying Aksinya might be healed.  This is dashed by the realization that angels can't heal.  The tension is brought up a notch with the hope that sorcery might heal Aksinya, but Aksinya kills that hope herself.  She states that she will never do that again.  We get a last bit of hope at the end.  We shall see what will happen.

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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