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  1. sonosublime

    sonosublime Member

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    Number of Scenes

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by sonosublime, Sep 12, 2018.

    Hi all,

    I'm aiming to write a 90k word fantasy book, and aiming for SCENES of about 3000 words.

    Note: SCENE = scene/action + sequel/reaction.

    But on average, how many SCENES do you think I should be aiming for in total, and per Act?

    I understand that the number of SCENES and length of SCENES etc depends on what I want, but I'm just looking for a benchmark figure to aim for.

    The way I've figured it out, I have 30 SCENES total, which means about 3 SCENES between each major structural beat (inciting event, 1st plot point, 1st pinch point, etc), and that just seems like too low a number of scenes to develop things properly.
     
  2. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    I wouldn't bother trying to structure your writing this way. Scene, word, page and chapter count are all secondary considerations at best. The significance of these things is mostly as an indicator of other things that you really care about. Focus on writing the actual story, look at these metrics afterward to aid in editing process. Don't write to fit a specific word or a scene count.
    That's my opinion at least.
     
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  3. severine

    severine Member

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    I agree with TPP. If writing could be reduced to a mathematical model we'd be churning bestsellers every week. Let the story take precedence over your worries about scenes etc and see where that gets you :)
     
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  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Just let it flow.

    "The Spice must flow!" :D
     
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  5. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman with a pen in hand Contributor

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    Like others have mentioned, just let it flow natural... I have scenes that vary from a couple hundred to thousands of words. It matters the quality of the scene. Don't ruin it with quantity.
     
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  6. sonosublime

    sonosublime Member

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    I've tried pantsing for years, and only managed to finished 1 of 5-6 stories I've started, which is why I'm looking to take on a more structured approach and outline things first. I find it's giving me a lot more clarity to approaching things, aside from a few issues here and there (this question about scenes being one them).

    But if pantsing/natural flow works for you, that's great too.

    So for those of you who have finished a story using a natural flow, how many scenes do you find you have on average?
     
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  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Why are you setting a word count goal for your scenes? Surely a scene should be as long as it needs to be. I wouldn't consider a failure to set a firm word count goal per scene to be "pantsing". Surely different scenes have different amounts of events and information.

    3K words also strikes me as fairly long for a scene. Of course it's going to vary per writer, but I don't have any scenes that long. It's rare for them to be as long as 2K words, and I'd say that the majority are less than 1K. Again, that's going to vary immensely per writer.
     
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Oh come on. I have like 10 pages dedicated to a pair of scenes.
    Not sure exactly how many K it is altogether, but it is better than
    what I could have filled the gap with. :p
     
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  9. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    Outling and planning your story is different from setting scene and page counts. There’s no need to put it into numbers that's just restricting yourself. If you're having trouble finishing things: first of all, who doesn't? And secondly, it may simply be that you need to spend more time revising in order to get the right feel that you can then expand on, or the opposite and you’re too afraid of writing something you'll just remove later to write anything at all.
     
  10. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I feel like if you're following your own formula, you have your own answer - you know how many scenes you should have according to that formula.

    But when you try to write the outline and figure out how things will fit together, you'll probably find that you need more or fewer scenes in certain areas than what's defined by your formula. So... follow your outline, and use the number of scenes you need.
     
  11. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

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    OP. I'm curious. Is your question related to how many scenes you have before it turns into another books worth?
    I'm at 225k and I still have tons of scenes unwritten. Maybe I should count how many scenes I have to determine where to call it 'book 2'?
    Maybe it raises a fair point: How much is too much?
     
  12. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Active Member

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    Yeah, I may have chapters that are 3k words or longer, but individual scenes in each chapter tend to be half that. Even something that may at first glance appear to be one scene is in fact an event that can be divided into several smaller bits.
     
  13. sonosublime

    sonosublime Member

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    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    3K might seem long, but this is for both the initial scene (the action), and then the following sequel (the reaction). So it's more like 1500 words for each bit. And of course some scenes will be longer or shorter than that, depending on whether they are major plot changing scenes or not.

    Sure, I know there's going to be things changed in the editing phase.

    That is related to it. Editors and publishers give guidelines for word counts depending on genre to maximise your chances of publication if you're going the traditional publication route. Of course, if your story needs a huge word count, just say it's an epic :)

    Here's an article I found which might help you figure out what you want to do: http://manuscriptagency.com.au/word-count-by-genre-how-long-should-my-book-be/
     

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