on Jane Friedman site:
Today’s post is the last in a three-part series by Sharon Oard Warner, adapted from her book Writing the Novella. Read part one here, and part two here.
It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of scenes in writing and reading narrative—whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. And if you are writing a stage play or a screenplay? Well, then, scenes are everything. In his book Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting, Syd Field says that “good scenes make good movies.” Good scenes also make good novellas, novels, and memoirs, but scenes alone won’t give you a graceful and sturdy narrative arc. For that, you need a little mortar, some grout or glue, and—yes—you need spacers.
Summary serves an essential role in the making of the narrative arc. In the first place, summary provides a means of moving time forward without a loss of momentum. It’s inevitable that we share the information that’s necessary but not significant through the means of summary. And orienting information before a scene is one sort of summary. But summary also serves as mortar between scenes, holding them together.
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