Pacing (Non-Toolbox Post#2)

Pacing Trouble:

Many things can destroy pacing. The reader could be struggling the the dialogue–slang, accents, etc. Slogging through an info dump or getting caught up in bad grammar and worse punctuation. But what if that’s not the problem.

If the language is clear, and poses flow, how can there still be a pacing problem?Β 

When to Slow it down

Has a reader complained that a scene made them feel uncomfortable or nervous? Maybe, even upset. These are all symptoms of pacing being too fast.

Every reader needs to breathe. Process. Gather their thoughts.

T0 slow the pace:

  • Add inner thoughts
  • Write longer sentences with descriptive detail
  • Use language that is more relaxing
  • Insert some passive sentences
  • Slow time down and stretch it out with more details

I’m not suggesting a writer use all of these techniques, however, selecting what works for them will help when revising.

When to Speed it up

If you are getting feedback about the chapter being boring, not holding the reader’s attention, or they are skimming/skipping ahead; pick up the pace:

  • Use short, quick, simple sentences and paragraphs
  • Throw in some sentence fragments
  • Punchy words. Energetic, and active language.
  • Avoid linking verbs
  • Fewer inner thoughts
  • Less overall description

Again, the writer will have to select what works best for them and not go too far. Or they are back at too fast.

Pacing needs balance

Depending on the genres, the pacing may tilt more one way than another. Faster paced for thrillers, and more of a slow burn for some romances.

A well balance story entertains your readers and compels them to read to the end.

Gleaned from:

 

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22 responses to “Pacing (Non-Toolbox Post#2)

  1. I love your stick men! Pacing is like life, and food – everything could use a healthy balance. Informative piece, Anna, as always. πŸ™‚

  2. Great tips. Pacing is a lot easier to do in short stories. Will have look at this one again.

  3. Great post. So many beginning writers struggle with this one.

  4. I think a mix of pace is good. Some newer writers feel that the faster paced the better, but unless it’s a very short story the piece will generally benefit from slower sections.

  5. I tend to struggle with pacing, especially in a longer work. But I’m aware of it, so that’s a good chunk of the revision battle. πŸ™‚

  6. Wonderfully helpful tips, as usual!

  7. Great tips. I tend to have trouble with pacing. Always finding a balance is a balancing act itself. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  8. So many stick men pacing around! Interestingly, it’s not just a matter of speeding it up or slowing it down. Often, it’s both. Readers need a variety of pacing. A roller coaster would be boring if it was all downhill. Readers need that slow climb, that build-up before the next exciting moment.

  9. Your info is very helpful and well-written. Cheer up. Just keep submitting. You can do it!!
    JQ Rose

If you're new to writing, ask me anything and if you're experienced, feel free to share what you know. Learning something new in the craft is always welcome.

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