Friday, July 10, 2009

Styles

I've had the chance to do a lot of reading over the past few weeks and I've noticed something about modern writing compared to older styles of writing: scene length.

Modern novels tend to be quick with the scene changing at the beginning and the end, and much slower in the middle. Older novels tend have long chapters all the way through.

It's not just books. This trend can be sen in film and TV shows too, though literary fiction seems to be unmoved by this change.

It can't be our attention spans as the middle parts of films and books are as long as ever, and some best-selling books and films are twice as long as older ones.

A recent example is a book called 'The Court of the Air' by Stephen Hunt. The opening chapters are full of short scenes in which characters are introduced and, importantly, questions asked. The middle chapters move the story along nicely and answer some of these questions. The final chapters increase the pace again and wrap everything up.

In older books/films/TV the pace only picks up towards the end.

You may already know this, but if you didn't you may want to consider this when writing your novel.

1 comment:

The Journalizer said...

I am glad to hear your assessment of modern and older styles. This is because you mention that "It can't be our attention spans as the middle parts of films and books are as long as ever..." and also because you mention that "literary fiction seems to be unmoved by this change."

Phew... I worry about our current world where society has pulled us away from "self" and out towards the material world. This could result in impatience and unhappiness, but as long as our art and literature sustain quality, then we must still be able to look inward.