How long should a scene be?

The short answer to that question, of course, is that I don't know. For most of my 'career' (? ...whatever) as a writer, I have used one "standard" length for basically every scene in a novel. This is a ridiculous practice, and I do not recommend it. Unfortunately, that leaves me with no real, practical recommendations.

My first scene this time around is 2000 words. That's not Shire reckoning; that's according to wc(1), which first appeared in Version 1 AT&T Unix, my version of which was compiled on February 23, 2005. This is a program with experience. I'm sure we can trust it.

According to my research, 2000 words for an early scene is still a little on the long side. I'd prefer something shorter. It seems that one of my readers would prefer something longer, with greater description and so forth. I have to be honest, I've never even read a book by Stephen King, and I'm not convinced I want to emulate his habit of oversharing in narrative form.

My understanding, however, is that early scenes (I don't know what "early" means) tend to be longer than later scenes. This is because they introduce characters, provide description and so forth. Later scenes get shorter as a result of a desire to increase one's pace, or because they just don't need to include as much stuff. I don't know.

Looking at my scene, it involves no real description for my main character, and only very minimal description for any of the rest. This implies to me that there are probably two hundred words or so missing from this version that could conceivably be added before the "final" version. That's annoying.

Ideally, I imagine this scene would come in at between 1500 and 1700 words, with later scenes settling in at around 1300 to 1500. But what do you remove? What do you take out to make that happen? What do you shift to other scenes?

I dunno.