Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Enter the Scene Late, Get Out Early

That's a standard rule of screenwriting, and I think it applies to commercial fiction as well. I majored in TV/Radio (...yeah) with a minor in Screenwriting, so you'd think that rule would be tattooed to my brain, but I had to re-learn all the old script edicts once I started writing novels.

It's hard somtimes to cut to the heart of a scene. We fall in love with certain descriptions, background info, or dialogue, and it pains us to cut it.

But here's the thing: the reader will never know it's missing.

Have you had any epiphanies about shorter scenes? Have you removed whole chapters, or fought to keep something in?


  1. I had to completely rewrite my ending once and scrap about 6 chapters that I'd worked pretty hard to get right. It was worth it in the end though.

  2. It can be so tricky deciding what to keep and what to ditch. Glad to hear your changes were all worth it!

  3. Natalie sent me over to your blog and I'm glad she did. Yes, I always have to cut stuff because I over write in my first drafts. ;)

  4. Hi Karen, thanks for checking out my blog! :)

    I think overwriting can be good for a first draft, so that you really know your characters and give yourself time to figure out the most important parts of the story. And yet each time I'm surprised by how much needs to go!