How long should a scene in a novel be?

by Anam

Question:: I just started writing a thriller, but the scenes are too short, only about 500 words. But I don't want to add any more description, because that becomes boring. What do I do?

Thank you.

Answer: Well, you certainly don't want to ever become boring.

Nonetheless, 500 words is fairly short for a scene. I'm guessing your style would be described as quite "hard-boiled" or even staccato?

Of course, there's no way to assess the effect without seeing your work. However, one thing you might look at is whether you are being specific enough in your description of events.

Take a look at this article on using specificity as a descriptive technique...

Then see if, by replacing general words with specifics, you can add interest as well as length to your scenes.

By the way, there's no hard and fast rule as to how long a scene should be, but it is a good idea to vary the length.

Comments for How long should a scene in a novel be?

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Jun 24, 2012
One fair way
by: Sayass

One fair way is here in the example. Suppose you want to say "you were caged in a cage of iron and you can go n0where out as it was dark." you may proceed as- "the pitch was always what i am afraid of. When i was searching for the open space on that dark i felt cold on my bare feet, and i could hear the s0und of metal; i was caged, i judged, in an iron cage where my body was starving and i c0uld go n0where." what i mean is justify your presentation, if u dont want to add up some m0re to ur scene. Best of luck.

Sep 08, 2014
Scene length
by: Anonymous

I too had this question and by doing an online search I was able to learn that opening or first scenes are usually longer given they have to introduce the character, scenario, etc. Someone did a scene comparison of several books and for what I gathered from that article most first scenes average around 1500 -some more, some slightly less.

However, middle scenes averaged around 700-1000 words and closing scenes a bit less.

There is no fixed rule on scene length but for the most part extending yourself more than you should in a scene adds the risk of making your readers tire or disengaged.

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