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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Scenes - Scene Setting, True Marriage

9 June 2013, Scenes - Scene Setting, True Marriage

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.

This is an example of how to use conversation to write about something very intimate.  I gave this as an exercise in one of my previous blogs.  There is important purpose in this scene--it completes the novel.  It definitely achieves Aksinya's goals and the purpose of the novel.  Like the Book of Tobit, it completes the end of the demon.

He kissed her.

“Touch me here and here.  And kiss me there,” she moaned.  After a while she reached for him, “Can you tell.  I am ready for you.”  She lay back and her arms slipped around him.   He reached around her shoulders.

Dobrushin whispered, “I am as new to this as you.  I can’t find the right place, help me.”

Aksinya laughed, and moved her hands downward.  He pressed forward, and with a mutual gasp, they came together.  Aksinya wrapped her body around his and cried out with amazement.  She trembled over and over and then relaxed.  His body shuddered once then again and again.  Finally he lay still.  Aksinya held on to him and wouldn’t let him move.  She kissed him and kissed him again.  Finally, she let him roll to the side, but she still clasped him possessively.

When she caught her breath, she brushed the hair away from his forehead, “You gave up your position as priest for me.”

“At this moment that is what you are thinking…?” He smiled at her, “But the answer is yes.”

“You would have given your life for me.”

“But in the end, you saved me.  I don’t think Raphael would have been able to cancel any harm the demon would have done to my body.”

She stroked his face, “Did the demon injure you?”

His voice cracked, “No, but the demon almost stole my beloved, my wife.”

She smiled and kissed him, “Truly your wife now.”  She nestled in his arms, “What will we do in the future?  Where will we go and what will we do?”

“We will leave Wien.  I have been working in immigration law.  The Americas are a place where many of our Russian compatriots are escaping…”

She snuggled closer to him, “We will go to America?”

“To Boston in the United States.  I already made connections.  They are looking for lawyers who can speak Russian.”

Aksinya pouted, “They speak a kind of English there.  How will we communicate?”

“We shall learn English.”

“Yes, I guess.  You’ve thought this through for a long time.”

“I realized early that Father Makar would oppose any help I gave you, and I knew that you would require much help.”

Her pout deepened, “Am I such a problem?”

“Yes, Aksinya, you are a very great problem.  Plus, I don’t think there is a diminutive for Aksinya.”  He rolled to face her, “What will I call you, wife?”

Aksinya wasn’t certain she should frown or smile.  She harrumphed and plucked at her lip, “My father called me Aksyusha, but I would like you to call me, Aksenyushka or perhaps Princess.”

“Very well, I shall call you Princess Akenyushka.  May I kiss you?”
“Yes, you may kiss me all you wish.”  Their lips touched. 

This scene fits the novel in its intimacy and maturity.  Aksinya is a mature novel about many mature things.  Assuming the novel is accepted for contract, my editor may ask me to change some of this scene to make it less intimate.  I'll make the changes because I trust their sense about the market and publication.  They may not ask for changes.  They allowed some very intimate descriptions in Aegypt and in some of my other novels.  Adult novels should have a degree of strength of intimacy especially intimacy that is morally based--like this novel.  I'll go further, many moral and ethical themes and plots are of an adult nature and require intimate scenes such as this one. 

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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