17 September 2009

Word Count for Scenes

(NOTE: I know I said I'd address more about theme, but received the following question. Will continue theme discussion next time.)

I've been working through my scene tracker and planned 20 chapters, each with 3 scenes or a total of 60 scenes. I divided plot into the first 1/4 or 5 chapters, the next 1/2 15 chapters, and the final 1/4 or 5 chapters.

Last evening as I was writing I realized each scene would have to be about 1,000 words to get to 60,000 and right now they are only about 600. What is a good average for scenes? Are my scenes too word light (Oh no!)?

Thanks so much! I appreciate your thoughts!


Sounds like you've done lots of pre-plotting, analyzing and preparing for this new story of yours. Congratulations!! 

Now it's time to forget about the structure and write. Well, that's not entirely true. Don't forget about all the work you've done. Use your guidelines as support as you write your way through the scenes, but don't get bogged down by the pre-plotting.

Some of us benefit from having a road map before setting off on a journey (new story). However, it's also nice to be able to wander off once in awhile if so inspired. So, it depends on if you're writing for fun and for the experience and the learning and the exploring OR if you're writing under a deadline. Under a deadline, keep to the pre-plot work to keep your writing on track. 

The scenes in the first draft generally grow in subsequent drafts as you add more elements -- authentic and thematic details, more emotion, deeper character development, snappier action.

Write your first draft all the way through without going back and without worrying about how long the scenes end up being. Once you reach the end, you'll have plenty of time to analyze what you have and make decisions for the next draft.

Great good luck!!!!