Scenes – Scene Setting, Who, more Tags

3 March 2013, Scenes – Scene Setting, Who, more Tags

Introduction:  I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon.  This was my 21st novel, and on 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–start 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.  At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.

Today’s Blog:   To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to

Here are my four rules of writing:

1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain 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 lots of 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.

Remember, use 100 to 300 words to introduce a character. Once you introduce a
character, there is no need to redescribe them–unless you have a purpose, like
the example I showed of a redescription.  Once you have described a character,
you no longer need a full description to set that character in a new scene.
What you need is a tag.  Tags are what I began discussing yesterday.  The tags I
introduced to you were titles.

Titles are much better than names for tags.  This is a mistake of many writers (including some experienced ones).  If you have a lot of characters, you will confuse your readers if you suddenly bring in a secondary or tertiary character just using the name.  You can easily get away with using a name as a tag for a major character, but for secondary and tertiary characters, you need a little more.

For example, you set and describe the mother of a major character as Karin Joplin.  No one (or few) will remember who the heck Karin Joplin is when you set her in a new scene a couple of chapters later.  The easiest way to set this character is to write Karin Joplin, the mother of xxxx.  Or xxxx’s mother Karin Joplin…  I’m giving really simple writing examples here–I’m sure you can figure out more elegant ways to set such a character, but you can see that using the title tag “mother of” ties the character to the major character and into the plot.  Where before, if you just wrote, Karin Joplin…(did something), many of your readers would be lost.  When you use a tag, you can easily set the character in the scene and maintain continuity.

There are many other tags you can use other than titles.  I’ll get to that, tomorrow.

My Notes: once you have a theme, you need to begin to visualize your plot, focus your theme, and define your characters. More tomorrow.

I’ll move on to basic writing exercises and creativity in the near future.

A note from one of my readers:  Speaking of which, I am awaiting for you to write a detailed installment on identifying, and targeting your audience, or audiences…ie, multi-layered story, for various audiences…like CS Lewis did. Just a thought.

I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples:, and the individual novel websites:,,,,, and

Aksinya Cover Proposal


About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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