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