1. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    Do You Guys Include Exposition When Counting Length Of Scenes?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by frigocc, Mar 29, 2019.

    Basically, one of the most common criticisms on my work I get is the quick pacing. Scenes just change way too quickly. It's something I'm working on fixing.

    Anyways, I saw a suggestion that a ballpark estimate for scene length is about 750-1,250 per scene, which seems accurate to me.

    With that being said, do these numbers include exposition? For example, if I mention a place, go on some exposition about it, and then the action happens, would you count the exposition as that "scene?"
     
  2. XRD_author

    XRD_author Banned

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    I don't think it's the number of words used to convey a scene that determines whether it is too long or too short.
    Ask yourself or your critics why the scenes seem to change too quickly. Then work from there.
     
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  3. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I agree. They might not be right about what’s wrong or how to fix it, but if a bunch of people don’t like it, maybe something is going on.

    A scene is over when a character changes. He enters one way and leaves another. If that isn’t happening, are you leaving the scene too early? Do you need the scene at all? If the point of a scene is delivering exposition, it could be cut.
     
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  4. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    They like the story, they simply say I change scenes too often. Looking back on it, I do. Hell, some of my scenes are like four lines of dialogue, and that's it.
     
  5. Fallow

    Fallow Banned

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    Have more happen per scene, or more exposition, or more dialogue. Any would make it seem like you are jumping around less.
     
  6. XRD_author

    XRD_author Banned

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    It sounds like the problem isn't just a few short scenes. So the solution probably isn't padding the scenes just to make them longer, that will just bore people.

    But it's difficult to know how to fix the problem without knowing why you have so many short scenes.
    Do you know why?

    Perhaps reordering scenes so you an merge them will help.
    You're the author: things happen when you want them too.
    Perhaps you should make them happen in bigger chunks, not in little interwoven dribbles.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Can you go into more detail about this? If a scene is that short, I find myself wondering why it exists. Is this perhaps an issue with comfort with transitions?
     
  8. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Contributor

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    Short scenes can be made to work, including ones with just a few lines of dialogue. As with all things though you should probably be careful to use that tool correctly. Make sure that they are driving the story. The feedback tells you that the way you are using short scenes doesn’t work for the person reading it. It may still work for others, or the issue could be that the scenes don’t have the right punch to them that would make fast pacing work very well.

    Edit: and to the original question, a word is a word! My scenes probably go around 1,000 words, and I count all of them.
     

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