My Favorites

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, Stacy

15 June 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, Stacy

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 set the characters through conversation.  The obvious purpose is to supply more information about the school and to provide a tension and release prior to the main portion of the scene.  This is a great example of how conversation can be used to inform the reader and describe important settings.

The girl beside her stared at Aksinya.

Aksinya stared back, “I’m Aksinya Andreiovna Lopuhin, and you are?”

The girl answered, “I’m Anastasiya, but everyone calls me Stacy.”  Her Russian was from Moscow, but the name Stacy was said purely in English.

Aksinya laughed, “Do you speak English?”

“Not well.  We’re supposed to learn it here.”

“Are you?”

“Too well.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“My brother taught me some words and the Sister didn’t like me to say them at all.”

“What were the words?”

Stacy motioned for Aksinya to lower her head a little and whispered into her ear.

Aksinya blushed, “Is that why you are here to speak to the headmistress?”

Stacy nodded woefully.

“You have a Nun teaching here?”

“Yes, she is Orthodox but not from Russia.”

“What does she teach?”

“English, German, and French, but mostly German.”

“I see.”

The girl, Stacy asked, “Are you going to go to school here?  Where are your mother and father?”

Aksinya laughed, “I’m applying to be a teacher here.”

The girl’s eyes widened, “You look so young.”

“I’m married,” Aksinya held out her right hand.

Stacy admired Aksinya’s plain golden ring, “Mother told me they married young in the old country.  Just how old are you?”

Aksinya laughed again, “I’m twenty-three.  I just graduated from Radcliffe.”

“Do you like school that much?”

“Yes, I like it very much.  I never was able to go when I was young.”

“You’d hate it if you were my age.”

“Why is that?”

Stacy held out her red hand, “Sister already used her ruler on my hand, and now I have to speak to the headmistress.  If she tells my mother, I’ll get the strap for sure.”

“Perhaps you should tell the headmistress you didn’t know what the words meant and beg her forgiveness.”

“I truly didn’t know what the words were, and I still don’t know what they mean.”

“Then tell her that.”

“Sister wouldn’t listen.”

“Sometimes they are like that.”

The door cracked open, and a call came from inside the office.  It was Russian accented English and sounded very pleasant, “Miss Anastasiya please come inside.”  To Aksinya, the voice seemed slightly familiar.

As Stacy passed Aksinya, she whispered in Russian, “Don’t let her voice fool you, she is quite strict.”

Aksinya nodded.

The information that needed to be passed is about the nun and the school and the appearance of Aksinya.  There is another reason and that is to ingratiate Aksinya in the eyes of Stacy.  This doesn't bear directly on the story, but provides an important piece to the plot and theme.  I love novels that when they end, have an implied continuance, and further, that the reader can guess how the story will continue.  This is being set up here.  The readers want Aksinya to be successful in her new life and love.  I provided these clues at the beginning of the chapter.  Here I provide a degree of competence and goodness to Aksinya.  We will see how her advice pans out.
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.

No comments:

Post a Comment