How I view the differences between Scenes n Chapters, and how this impacts my writing.
|Okay, first let's introduce our two concepts.
> Scenes - A firm, crunchy definition for these basic writing "things" is a moving target. A lot of people have a lot of different thoughts on what makes a scene a scene. For me it is a discreet unit of prose, from one specific character's Point of View, that encapsulates a chunk of plot/actions/details that if separated would lose their meaning. It is also the smallest complete chunk of events that can be seen to have a beginning, middle, and end. Something happens and is resolved in some form or fashion, even if that resolution just leads to more problems, questions, and reader hair yanking.
> Chapters - Are in my experience, a purely contrived for pacing necessities item in writing. Where as you need scenes to have a manuscript, as authors like Pratchett have proven, you do not need a single chapter in a novel. Additionally, short stories rarely ever have any chapters, because essentially a short story IS one discreet chapter, just a very important critical one, so it can be shown all on its own. But chapters are mainly a timing device used by authors to help control the flow of the reading experience. They have no real impact on the writing, since many writers I have read about the writing process of, worry about marking off chapters AFTER they have finished the first draft and are in the editing stages.
I started out three decades ago trying to write just anything. It was a royal cluster... It was messy. Though there were... Other reasons beyond the scope of this piece that had a hand in making this situation worse, one of the problems was I was just writing whatever, whenever, however.
Then seven years ago I decided, with the help of a young friend who had the patience to help teach me some very important basics to writing (like rules that helped me start consistently writing complete sentences), I switched over to short stories and novelettes (basically, slightly longer short stories). And in learning the ropes writing those, I learned my writing length sweet spot for single sessions.
Once I started to write with the hard rule of complete whatever scene I was working on at the time per each session, my writing production increased and the quality of my writing steadily improved.
Now that I am poking at my first novel, I find that personal rule of write only in complete scenes helps greatly. Oh yes, sometimes I only write 600-900 words in an entire day because of this little rule. But other times I write 4k-8k in one day due to once I get the first scene done, all those directly tied to it (essentially all the other scenes in what will likely later be a single chapter) come flooding out onto the page. It's a bit addictive, ahahaha.
Anyways... Scenes are where the tires of writing meet the road. Concern yourself with the writing of them, and worry about the chapter breaks in the editing stage, where things like that are more important than the finishing of the first draft of your manuscript.