Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scenes Or Chapters. How do you write?

I want to take this time to ask everyone to be in prayer for the people of Haiti following the deadly earthquake they had on Tuesday night. The stories coming out of there are horrendous. Please take time out of your day to lift these people up to God. He can and will use our prayers. And if you are led, give to the relief effort. Samaritans Purse left Wednesday morning for Haiti. I know because I'm one of their volunteers. And I know I don't have to remind you to pray. I just felt like I needed to say this. The people look so lost. Thank you.

Do you write in scenes instead of chapters? Scenes hold reader interest. Everything we write happens in an exact time and in an exact place. I read an authors take on the debate with chapters and scenes. She said, "chapters have no structural meaning. They serve no dramatic purpose, and therefore add nothing to your grasp of your story. And during the first draft, chapters can lead you astray." Hmmmm

We all have to agree that chapters are linked together scenes.

Some writers connect the chapters last. They link all the scenes together when they have completed the first draft. They claim that writing in chapters adds a mushiness to our writing. They say you can hide blemishes inside a chapter. This happens and that happens but did we give each scene a goal?

They claim that writing in chapters makes it easy to add a lot of unimportant stuff. That we don't pause long enough to give that emotional impact our stories need. And that we don't plan out the scene's purpose, setting, and climax, because we were not aware that the scene was a crucial chunk of drama. It was just another episode in the chapter. But that can happen no matter how we write, if we're not careful.

How do you write? I write in chapters. It's just easier for me. I try to be aware that every sentence I write matters to the story. Oh sure I get carried away. But writers that use scenes instead of chapters have to revise too. They have to edit, cut unnecessary words the same as I do.

The debate moves forward. What's your take on it? :-)

25 comments:

  1. I write in chapters. I think that way. That's how I organize my writing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Me too Beth. It seems like more work to write in scenes. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have done it both ways. I used to think that writing in chapters was logical, but I took a course where the instructor said scenes are the natural growth of the story. And with scenes it's easy to move them if necessary. Anyway, I wrote the NaNo novel without chapters. It won't be hard at all to decide where the chapter breaks will be when I'm done making sure the scenes are all tight and in the right places. My two cents.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I write in chapters. I'm a very linear writer. Although I do brainstorm scene ideas and then put them in the chapters.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I write in chapters. But within each chapter I have a pretty good idea of what scenes I want to include.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I start out writing in scenes. I just throw everything on to the page with no regard for where a chapter may or should end.

    However, sometimes a scene comes to an end, making way for a natural chapter ending too. There are definitely breaks in my manuscript where I assume chapters will end.

    sarahnoelsmusings.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hmmm, Pat, it seems like more work to me. Just because a writer is really just writing chunky with no start or finish. Then he/she has to go back in to sort everything out. Where if you start with chapters that part is already figured out. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Patti, Me too. I have to know there is a beginning and a finish. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bish, I have a pretty good idea of the scenes in each chapter too, but it seems I'm always surprised by new ones that pop into my head. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I definitely write in scenes, but I do mark chapter cut offs as I write. When I have my writing broken down in scenes, I think it's easier to revise. I can work on one scene at a time, over and over again, until I'm happy with it. It's a smaller chunk to work with than a whole chapter.

    ReplyDelete
  11. SarahAnn, I like your thought about having a pretty good idea where the chapter might end. I just have to know. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Susan, marking the chapter cut offs and being sure where they end, even I could work that way. It does seem more manageable. I might try it with my new WIP. I have five or so chapters done, revised and all so I could start doing it now. It's early.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think I do some of both. I definitely write in scenes but put those scenes together to form chapters. Some of it depends on the structure of the book. Are there multiple view points alternating, or a single viewpoint with alternating settings.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Paul, I might give this thing a try. I can always go back to writing in chapters if I don't like it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't think I'm understanding this post. I write in chapters, but each chapter is a scene. It has to have a reason for existing. A beginning, middle and end. It has to add to the plot. So do I write in scenes or chapters? I'm not sure...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Nisa! Okay, Chapters are written with a chapter number, they have lots of scenes all bunched together and a chapter end that is all clearly defined.

    Scenes are written separately. Say there are twenty scenes in a chapter. And you don't write in chapters. You would have twenty scenes written out, scene by scene. Then when it is time to wrap up revisions, you put all the scenes into chapters. And while writing in scenes, you can put breaks when you know that will be an end to a chapter. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've done it both ways. I can't say whether or not I have a preference. I guess it's where the story takes me. :) Good post though, I had never really thought about it. Perhaps I should be more conscious about how each way works....

    ReplyDelete
  18. I start in scenes, and then move into chapters. I admit I don't really have an outlined idea when I start something. I just start it, and then . . . find out whether or not it's going to be long or short. If it's going to be long, I start breaking down my plot ideas in a chapter outline that I follow loosely. I just seem to think in chapters better at that stage, because some scenes seem to naturally hinge on one another within them.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I personaly write in chapters, primarily because people read in chapters. How do you know a book is good?...You keep saying "I'll just read one more chapter." ;)
    I often make sure that my chapters end in a way that would encourge that statement. It helps me keep track of the progression.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Eek. I didn't know there was a debate. I write in scenes, I guess. I'll put a chapter in the middle of a scene. But actually, I write about ten pages and then start a new chapter, so I'm not sure how I do it. Hmmm.

    The earthquake is devastating. It hurts to think about what people over there are going through right now.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Jess, well all that matters really is that you DO do it. Right? That's how I'm thinking about this. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I write in chapters, Robyn. Chapter books are just easier when I write them that way! Ha ha. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Been praying. I support the Joint Distribution Committee and they're there too. Adding prayers for Christopher. Take good care.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I write scenes. I only add chapters after I've finished the story. I insert chapters where I think it would either give the readers a continued interest to keep reading or a breather if too much has been going on.

    ReplyDelete
  25. [url=http://ebiteua.com/forum55-prostitutki-khersona-i-oblasti.html]Проститутки Херсон[/url]

    ReplyDelete

Leave me a note! :)