Monday, May 16, 2011

Are you writing Scenes or Incidents?

Hubby and I went on a Chapters date on Saturday and as a result I find myself studying You Can Write A Novel by James V. Smith, JR. So far I'm finding what Smith has to say quite interesting.

He suggests that we write Incidents rather than scenes. That's a new concept to me, but I like his suggestion. Don't Incidents sound snappier than scenes? When I consider novels that I've really had a hard time putting down, I must admit, they read more like connected incidents making up the story. Each incident delivers a punch that draws me in further and further to the story world and characters. Scenes just sounds so drawn out now to me.

What do you think? What do you see as the difference between writing Scenes or Incidents? If any?


Personal Note:
Donner did amazing on the weekend for my girls. He went around the course like an old pro and it was pouring rain the whole day, too. Not exactly a good way to introduce him to showing, but he didn't seem to mind at all. Hurray!



Surrendering to Him,

Eileen

15 comments:

Susan Anne Mason said...

Interesting difference between scene and incident, Eileen. It's funny because the word 'incident' reminds me of a comment that a Harlequin editor made about my book, that my writing was 'episodic', ie. writing in episodes or incidents, instead of writing scenes that build from one to the other. Apparently episodic is a VERY undesirable trait. At the time I had no idea what that even meant, so I put it away to re-examine MUCH later!

Myself I like incidents! What can I say. LOL.

Keli Gwyn said...

I'd be curious what distinction Smith makes between scenes and incidents. I assume it's much more than mere semantics.

I'm glad Donner did so well, even with the challenges the weather presented.

Terri Tiffany said...

I have never heard it described in this way--but scenes can and should be incidents.

kathrynjankowski said...

Webster's defines incident as "something dependent on or subordinate to something else of greater or principal importance". So, it seems like you might be able to write part of your book as incidents, but the primary action would have to be written as scenes.

Joanne said...

Interesting thought, I'd like to know more about how a passage is classified as scene, or incident. Can you post more details in another post? I'm thinking that my writing might be a combination of the two.

Anita said...

I agree with Joanne. Definitely something to ponder.

Sarah Forgrave said...

That term is new to me, too. Interesting. I'll be curious to hear your overall thoughts on the book when you're finished.

And what great news about Donner! If he can survive bad weather, he was born to show. :)

Karen Lange said...

That does sound interesting. I'm going to have to check that out. Thanks for the info! Have a great week. :)

Loree Huebner said...

Yay for your girls and Donner!!

Never heard it said that way but interesting - scenes...incidents.

I do like it.

Jessica R. Patch said...

Very interesting. I like the idea of calling it an incident. A scene can be anything. A conversation, a man and woman walking down the street, but an incident implies an action and reaction which would move the plot along. I like it! :)

Sarah Thomas said...

I'm reading a Maeve Binchy book right now and she definitely writes a string of incidents. I'm forever thinking, just one more . . .

Jessica Nelson said...

Actually, I think I totally agree. I remember thinking about Francine Rivers' book A Voice In the Wind and I realized a long time ago that in each scene, something significant happened. Now that I'm a writer, I can see that the story was built around each incident which somehow strengthened goals and motivations, thus upping conflict.
Very interesting! Thanks for sharing and congrats to the girls. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I don't analyze things that much. Other than the POV, shoe - don't tell, character development, and research, my writing is pretty much organic.

Michelle Massaro said...

Hmm, I think I love it. I need to know more though. I hope you do post some examples to help us wrap our minds around this. Writing in scenes is sometimes difficult for me in the classic definition. So I'm thinking this incident thing might resonate with me. =)

Steve n Vickie said...

Hmm I've never thought of it that way before Interesting consept. I'll have to try it out.