A golden rule of writing. Was in class yesterday at USC, watching films, when I brought this up. Why? Because there were several scenes in some films which went on for way too long. Less is always more. Always.
We have two chances of making the scene work, in terms of it's length, and really, it's impact - in the writing and in the editing.
When we are writing the scene, you want to ask yourself how late can I start this scene? Why is this so important? Well, think about it. What's the opposite? Starting the scene too early.
Does that sound like a good idea? No. Not at all. We start the scene too early, it's going to be boring, long, overwritten and it will certainly not start with a bang. It will start with fluff, or filler. You want your scenes to have a purpose. Start them with a purpose.
"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." -- Mark Twain
My favorite writing quote of all time! It's simply the best, and certainly applies to start late, get out early. This is why we write and rewrite and write some more. Many drafts. Because we edit. We carve. We polish. We hopefully get to the point sooner than later.
Yes? Make sense? Always, always, always, start your scenes as late as possible.
In the next post I'll discuss why we want to get out as early as possible.