Ideal Scene Length?



  • A couple of hours for social scenes between 2-3 players. For actual plots with more than three players, I think anything up to 4 is good. If I'm playing on a work night, I'd like to get to bed at a reasonable time, fuck staying up till 2am mushing.

    The actual length is less a thing for me than response time. If it takes a player 15-30 minutes to pose, then any length feels too long.



  • The ideal scene length is however long it takes to accomplish the specific story goals that you have in mind for that particular encounter or meeting.

    That might seem trite, but it's true. It can be a few sentences between characters caught between moving parts, or it can be an in-depth strategy meeting, a heart to heart, whatever. So long as you get from point A to B in the most enjoyable way, that is all that matters.

    Nor do I think scenes need to strive for any sort of 'resolution'. Scenes are not stories. They are parts of stories. How many times have you read a chapter in a book that moves the story forward a bit, or gives you more of a feel of the world, but doesn't have any kind of resolution to it? I know I have. Tons. Those scenes are the ones that build anticipation and drama. Often, there are a great many unresolved things at the ends of those chapters, or sections of chapters. Things that haven't been answered. Things that didn't get said. But it moved everything forward somehow.

    I think we put too much emphasis on everything remaining neatly self-contained, which is why we tend to have scenes of epic lengths where everyone is worried about tying up all the loose ends into a nice pretty bow.

    Screw that. Leave loose ends. That is how stories continue onward. Have the quick five minute conversation where the one person is throwing some gear into a bag, while the other is looking frantic and confused, with that quick promise that theyĺl explain when they get back.

    Have the awkward moment in the hallway between the two characters with enough tension between them you could cut it with a knife, for good or bad. You might not even need to exchange words in this one, and they can be both sort and intense.

    So I guess, for me, the 'ideal length' is whatever gets us from where we are to where we want to be at that particular moment in the most enjoyable way. This can be minutes, or hours, or sometimes maybe split over days.



  • @derp said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    Nor do I think scenes need to strive for any sort of 'resolution'.

    I would argue that we don't need a narrative resolution, but we do need an 'end' point for the scene. Otherwise they can (and do) carry on far too long. I'd far prefer short and snappy than long and drawn out most of the time. I don't have the free time to invest in marathon scenes anymore.


  • Pitcrew

    @tinuviel said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    @derp said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    Nor do I think scenes need to strive for any sort of 'resolution'.

    I would argue that we don't need a narrative resolution, but we do need an 'end' point for the scene. Otherwise they can (and do) carry on far too long. I'd far prefer short and snappy than long and drawn out most of the time. I don't have the free time to invest in marathon scenes anymore.

    No you hang up.



  • I rarely start a scene if I don't have at least 3-4 hours and I'm perfectly happy to have them go on all day, assuming I have the day and things are interesting. I don't often do anything under 2 hours at all, because it feels like it doesn't get anywhere. So... I guess I'm just really out of sync with everyone else these days, unless there are a bunch of other people who prefer longer ones who aren't chiming in.



  • @ninjakitten said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    I don't often do anything under 2 hours at all, because it feels like it doesn't get anywhere.

    It depends on how long one must wait between poses. If you're posing every five minutes, you can get a lot done.


  • Pitcrew

    @ninjakitten said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    I rarely start a scene if I don't have at least 3-4 hours and I'm perfectly happy to have them go on all day, assuming I have the day and things are interesting. I don't often do anything under 2 hours at all, because it feels like it doesn't get anywhere. So... I guess I'm just really out of sync with everyone else these days, unless there are a bunch of other people who prefer longer ones who aren't chiming in.

    I'm with you, never fear. Folks aren't speaking up, but I promise we exist.



  • I find that 'meet and greet' first scenes never go anywhere, and I prefer to keep those like, shorter. If this is the first time our characters are meeting, I'd rather something short and sweet. Then the next time we put them together, maybe a bit longer. Or if they click, a lot longer! Maybe they end up gushing about something.

    But I find if I drag on that first scene too long, it makes the whole relationship suffer. I'd rather a bunch of short scenes than one giant one. I think some of the best relationships I've had come from that. (Like Eleyna-Sylvie were a bunch of small scenes, in between other things. Myrinda and her sons were a bunch of small scenes. Alden and Isabel. Etc etc)



  • @tinuviel I'm kind of a slow writer. It's unfortunate, but even paying full attention and intentionally trying to get faster, I'm more in the 10-15 range most of the time. It can get worse if things are intense. So I'm grateful for the people who think it's worth the wait, but, yeah, I can't really get a lot done in two hours.


  • Admin

    @meg said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    I find that 'meet and greet' first scenes never go anywhere, and I prefer to keep those like, shorter. If this is the first time our characters are meeting, I'd rather something short and sweet. Then the next time we put them together, maybe a bit longer. Or if they click, a lot longer! Maybe they end up gushing about

    I think I like meet and greets especially if they are organic and players invest in them.

    To be clear about what I mean - 'organic' not in the way that's in the flow of RP since obviously there is no flow yet as you're just IC meeting for the first time. What it does mean is there's no agenda about it; I'm not meeting a character pre-determined between us to be my PC's love of his life, or a future coterie buddy or whatever but instead it's a blank slate and we're just exploring the chemistry and possibilities between them. That is a great setup, IMHO, and even more so if I don't even know who the other player is. For example I had a pretty good meet-and-greet yesterday, it was fun, yet nothing 'happened' in that scene; we discussed pillows, lower back aches and what it's like to live in a small town.

    But that leads to investment... and it's a real thing. Look, I get it; it's more exciting for the player to be part of that PrP where you go up against the Goblin King or you're meeting the Prince for the first time instead of a random Joe at a cafeteria, but if you don't pour some effort and do more than pose about the weather then no big surprise there, the scene is going to be boring. The normal rules of RP still apply whether it's a 'throwaway' scene or not; we need to give the other person something to throw back at us, push the boundaries a little bit, build up some rapport.

    If I show up and have my guy do the RP equivalent of staring at his phone half the time then yeah, the meet and greet will suck - but it's because I suck.



  • @arkandel Yeah, I do like them organic, too. But if I am going for a length, I'd rather go for shorter rather than longer. Because I feel like if you are trying to go long, you are forcing things into the play that would never happen. Unless you have a really solid reason to hang around an unknown person for a long time (trapped in an elevator, closing on a house, etc), who here like, meets someone and spends a day with them? And scenarios where you are trapped with a new person probably just would not be fun to play, and probably should have some FF and handwave.

    Of course, this doesn't apply to everything. No one size fits all soltion. You can totally have long, organic RP where characters just click. There could be a really fun reason for two new characters to be together for a long period. Mostly I have found short and sweet is a really good way to lay a foundation, without really knowing what the foundation is? Letting it build from there in little bits. (Or even when I do have a pre-planned relationship, like Teagan/Sebastian being apped in as pals. It feels more real if we develop that relationship in short scenes where we aren't stretching it to weird places.)

    Also, ps, I had a scene with Teagan and Olive yesterday where Teagan stared at her phone half the time. It was amazing.

    • I may or may not still suck.


  • @arkandel said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    I think I like meet and greets especially if they are organic and players invest in them.

    Meet&greets are important for building out your character's relationship circle, but here's one case where I think shorter is better. Because if people feel the need to keep the scene going until midnight, you either run out of things to talk about, or you get this decidedly inorganic thing where now you're over-sharing all kinds of crap about your character. Nobody(*) does that.

    There's this stigma in MUSHing that once you enter a scene you're committed until you have some kind of RL excuse to stop playing. Otherwise it's taken as some kind of personal rejection. I think our scenes would be better if we would just let them end when it makes sense.

    (*) Actually people do, and my mom seems to be a magnet for them, but that's a separate issue.


  • Admin

    @meg said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    @arkandel Yeah, I do like them organic, too. But if I am going for a length, I'd rather go for shorter rather than longer. Because I feel like if you are trying to go long, you are forcing things into the play that would never happen. Unless you have a really solid reason to hang around an unknown person for a long time (trapped in an elevator, closing on a house, etc), who here like, meets someone and spends a day with them? And scenarios where you are trapped with a new person probably just would not be fun to play, and probably should have some FF and handwave.

    Oh agreed. And for some players there is no patience; if there is a suspicion of rapport, of a romantic match or political agreement or they are playing with someone they know and like OOC they keep pushing it to go longer even when there's no IC reason for it. The easy marker for such a scenario is when a significant portion of a scene is about one topic ("gee, the Prince is such a tyrant, amirite?") and then it's about something else ("I need a new armor, can you make one for me?") when it could warrant a second meeting.

    That's how you burn out on people, too. I won't say I haven't had partners I seemed to spend 90% of my time scening with because I have because they were that good, but that's not the norm. If I get to the point I want to do other scenes and can't we're gonna need to have a (hopefully friendly) OOC chat.

    Mostly I have found short and sweet is a really good way to lay a foundation, without really knowing what the foundation is? Letting it build from there in little bits. (Or even when I do have a pre-planned relationship, like Teagan/Sebastian being apped in as pals. It feels more real if we develop that relationship in short scenes where we aren't stretching it to weird places.)

    Agreed, with a caveat: People vanish, and activity varies. Hey, those were two caveats! But to expand:

    One of my faults (I have some, don't gasp now) is I sometimes spend too much time building things up, both with my PCs and PrPs. So while that can be perfectly enjoyable for all parties MUSHers are a fickle bunch and they can stop logging on, which can leave things feel a bit... wasted. LIke it was still fun while it lasted but it'd sure have been nice to have seen the end of that plot, y'know?

    The other thing is activity. Let's say I play three times as much as you do because you have a life, so we start building a story up that could end up with our werewolf PCs making a pack together - yay! But every time you log in I unload a shitload of stuff that I've been doing, PrPs I took part in, NPCs my character encountered so that building a foundation is genuinely complicated. Every scene can feel like it's catching up to something instead of building up toward something.



  • @faraday said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    Actually people do

    And they all drive my goddamn Ubers.



  • @arkandel said in Ideal Scene Length?:

    But every time you log in I unload a shitload of stuff that I've been doing, PrPs I took part in, NPCs my character encountered so that building a foundation is genuinely complicated. Every scene can feel like it's catching up to something instead of building up toward something.

    If every time I RP with you, you are just dumping a lot of things that you are doing into the scene. Well, I am going to quickly stop RPing with you, because that sounds boring. There's some amount of 'catching up' that should be done in a scene, for sure. People share their lives. But you don't sit down with a friend or acquaintance and just start listing everything that has happened to you in the last two weeks when you meet up with them. It's an ebb and flow. I might go 'hey, did you know I started going to the gym? Yeah, I'm really enjoying the rowing machine. I am thinking about actually getting into kayaking.' and then my friend might be like, 'Shit, I love kayaking! I own my own. Do you wanna make a plan to go out on the river with me next week?'

    Etc etc. You get the picture. So I get where you are coming from, but I also just-- have never had that problem. #MoreMoneyNoProblems


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