Pacing

Pacing for novels and stories is tricky. I do believe in you and will add what my thoughts on the topic are.  

I always refer to the saying “this is a marathon, not a sprint” as it applies to so much in life as well as life itself. There are times where life, whether home or work, is a sprint. Deadlines happen. You get an unexpected call from an in-law and they are coming over for dinner. So much can trigger these times. During them, you quickly list out what is needed and delegate what you can to who you can. I do warn, giving a 5-year-old direction to pick up may result in more toys taken out as they “discover” something they forgot was put away.  

Such things can and will happen to your characters. A decision is made that has a time limit. Something unexpected will pop up. A showdown may occur within the first few chapters. All of these represent something that is fast-paced and time-sensitive.  

The flip side of this is the reflection. The character, as well as the reader, are given a chance to relax. They are given some breathing room. There might be more information you need to now examine. 

I talked about this when writing chapters and this applies both in and out of your chapters. You are likely not writing a fast-paced, non-stop action story. Your story will also not be completely contemplation. A discussion between two characters can reveal some relevant plot points or uncover something which may have been missed before. The discussion may also be a battle with one side trying to trick information out of the other. There are many examples out there and they run just about every scenario there can be.  

Short stories and books will have a healthy dose of heart-pounding action as well as some moments to relax and gather what they need. The pace at which the story will be moving is completely up to the writer. Some writers have written pieces which are full contemplations by a single character, and it has gone over amazing. A few others have also put stories out there which is total nonstop action and it can be overwhelming.  

When it comes to pacing, read your work. See how it feels to you and if it is right or not. Beta readers will also help out and give you clear guidance as to what they feel will improve your story. Take in each of those comments and really focus on whether it will improve the story or not. Writing a scene the way you feel it should be and then using the advice to write it another way might result in something unexpected.  

How do you feel about pacing? 

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