How Long Should a Story Scene Be?
A few weeks ago, I was lamenting about how I may have over scoped my story and possibly did not have the ability to write what I had imagined for the Gideon Plan. I sited a particular portion of the story I had been working on and how I just couldn’t manage to pull the scene off convincingly.
On Thursday, I went back to this scene, just curious as to how terrible it was. I was actually stunned to find out it was actually pretty good and not too far from being finished. So, I finished it. The scene is 15 and a half pages long (or 9,858 words). Wow. That’s a lot of scene.
So I began to wonder to myself, how long should a story scene be? In Bronze Raiders, my scenes were pretty short—about 4 or 5 pages (around 2500-3000 words). I personally like this length. For me, its easier for the reader to digest and the book seems to move more rapidly. It was my goal to have the Gideon Plan scenes about the same length.
The thing is, I wasn’t sure how the heck to shorten this sucker. I had a couple of ideas: I could shorten it (maybe—MAYBE– I can condense it to 10 pages) or I could cut it up into smaller scenes and alternate them with others scenes. Or, I could just leave it as is, and this part of the story could be the exception to scene length. My feeling is that the Gideon Plan just calls for longer scenes. About half of the scenes I have written so far are over 8 pages long. Its just the type of story it is.
So, what is my writer friends’ opinions? How long should a story scene be? Do you have a preference in your own writing or perhaps a tendency to a certain length?