3. THE SIN OF NOTHING HAPPENS
If a narrator or character takes her car for an oil change and no important events or interactions ensue, you could and probably should just skip the scene and summarize it. “I got my oil changed in the morning before I went to the grocery and the dry cleaner’s.” Or leave it out. Each
aspect of the day doesn’t deserve a developed scene if none of these events holds particularly revealing information about the character, or advance the plot or themes of the piece. You don’t need to make the reader experience, via scenes, a character’s humdrum errand-filled life in
order to make the point that the character’s life is indeed tedious.
Of course you could write any of these events in a way that revealed character—if the narrator got into a fight with the dry cleaner or spied her ex-husband with his new girlfriend over the produce display, for instance. Assuming that nothing as exciting as all that occurs, save the
scenes for more important occasions and compress time through summary.
You might use very quiet or slow scenes to set up for something to come later, but, in general, if the scene does little in terms of heightening the complications or furthering the plot or themes, consider summarizing instead.