Setting the Scene: Template for A Novel

Last week I wrote about my template for writing a scene. One of the questions I asked in that template was:  Is the setting the best place for emotional impact?

How do I answer that question? I use another template. For each setting, I ask myself:

What is the Setting Role in Story:

Who are the Related Characters:


Unique Features of the Setting:







This allows me to determine if I’ve described the scene in a vivid manner. If I can’t answer most of the questions,  I don’t think the scene is the best place for emotional impact. I don’t believe sight, sound and smell have to be in every scene, but there should be something there.

The real purpose of the template is to make myself think about the scene in a structured way. If you have a way to do this, I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading . . .


6 thoughts on “Setting the Scene: Template for A Novel

  1. It took me a while, but I’ve finally started adding sight, smell, and texture to every scene – even if it’s just a few words. No matter the drama level, these few words add a continuity from scene to scene that I didn’t have in my previous novel.:)


  2. Hi Kristina,
    I’m with you – you have a great template there. Here’s my version. This is my scene plan for my opening scene in my next crime novel IN IT FOR THE MONEY (out in March). It’s interesting how many non-outliners believe this kind of planning stifles their writing – I suppose there’s no one right way; it’s what works for you.

    • 1. VIEWPOINT/CHRS – Matt Proctor – All Chrs MP/HmcG/Teller/2 raiders
    • 2. ACTION – MP collects bet, shop raided, cash handed over to 2 balacala’d bikers, McGeady shot dead in face.
    • 3. PURPOSE – Grab attention, intro MP (likes a bet), start spine story, introduce problem for MP, set tone, atmosphere.
    • 4. CONFLICT – MP/gang, MP/teller
    • 5:TIMELINE: OCTOBER Sunny, cool
    • 6. SETTING – Int. bookies, tvs on, newspapers on wall, tinny spkrs., tawdry
    • 7. SENSES – So/Ta/To/Sm/Si: red blood, loud gunshot, tv, bike roars, shotgun, salty blood, p/mint, sphincter gone, cold floor, walks thro’ ciggies,
    • 8. EMOTIONS Fast action, intrigue, shock, bookies’ atmosphere
    • 9. OUTCOME: MP’s good mood shattered, jolted, injured, angry, his snout murdered.
    • 10.HOOK :To next scene/chapter
    • 9. (FORESHADOWING, SUB-TEXT) –Stankvitch, (accent eastern Europe) and Karim Singh (accent Black Country/asian, KS’s ‘lazy’ eye)


    1. Tom, Thank you for sharing in such a generous and open way. I like the Timeline entry. My novels take place in a ski resort and weather is all important. I like the way you added it to the timeline. Senses is important too. Once I started paying attention to those, I realized where I needed to work harder. Kristina


  3. I am attacking some pretty big revisions this week, and am enjoying rooting through your blog a little for some much needed help. Your posts are an excellent resource, Kristina. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi J.A. l’m glad the post help you. Let me know if you find anything that I’ve left out or could use a bit more explaining. The blogs help me remember all the writing advice I’ve read over the years. Thanks for stopping my.


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