Novels: Point of a Scene – Is there one or should you cut it?

Is There One or Should You Cut It?

I’ve often read the advice that a novelist should be able to summarize their novel in one to two sentences. This made me start thinking about scenes and chapters.

I asked myself if I knew the point of a scene, and if I didn’t should I cut – yes the dreaded word cut – the scene from the novel? It’s easy to get attached to a scene for many reasons but if there is no point, then I ask you what is the point? J

I challenged myself to go through my latest novel and write one sentence describing the point of the scene.

Taking this one level deeper, and adding a new column to my spreadsheet, I tried to reduce the sentence to one word that described the scene.

This did a couple of things for me.

  1. It showed me what to cut. Ouch.
  2. I helped me organize my chapters into a theme.

The second item was a surprise and created a new way for me to look at organizing chapters.

How do you decide it a scene is needed or not?

Thanks for reading . . .

 

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8 thoughts on “Novels: Point of a Scene – Is there one or should you cut it?

  1. Very interesting scene wrangling idea!

    I still use the old standard – does this scene move the story along? When I have to cut a scene, I stash it for later. You never know when a favorite culled idea will work someplace else.

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  2. It took me a while to get the hang of fitting a scene’s point into one sentence, but once I did the scenes seemed to come out much better. I’m intrigued by the idea of reducing a scene to one word– although I might already do that since I enjoy titling my scenes. 🙂 It surprises me sometimes what my subconscious comes up with!
    As for cutting them? I’ve got a few on the chopping block right now. It’s encouraging to know that I might find a place for them elsewhere!

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