giovedì 13 giugno 2019

thatwritergirlsblog: Acing pacing in your writing I’ve read too many books and watched too many...


Acing pacing in your writing

I’ve read too many books and watched too many shows where pacing has ruined a good story. So, here are some of my tips for getting pacing right:

1. Don’t take too long to get to the inciting incident

  • Look, showing the ordinary life of your protagonist might be interesting if there’s something strange about their life, but readers want stuff to happen.
  • At least with genre fiction, you shouldn’t take too long to get to the action - the event that gets the story going.
  • If you can do it well and have readers invested from the start, you can start with the inciting incident. However, for most works I would recommend having it in the second chapter.
  • Your readers want to know what the story is about, not what the character thinks of his English teacher

2. Keep it moving, but don’t rush

  • Action is important. It drives the story and it’s interesting. You should make sure to put enough action in your work. Things should be happening.
  • BUT a novel is not a play or a movie or a comic. What makes reading a full-length novel so entertaining is the detail. The in-depth characterisation and description. The emotion and thought processes.
  • So, keep it moving, but don’t sacrifice the juicy details. Don’t skip from one action or dialogue scene to the next without taking your readers deeper into the intricacies of the story and characters.
  • It’s a delicate balance that can only truly be found by reading a lot and practicing.

3. Avoid a sagging middle

  • Your beginning is solid. Your end is exciting. But the middle is a chaotic mess that bores the reader. Trust me, it happens more than you might believe.
  • Sagging middle syndrome is a thing, and the only way to avoid it is to plan.
  • Look, I like pantsing, but planning the middle of your novel will help your pacing exponentially.
  • Make a rough outline of what needs to happen to get your characters to the climax. Add a few lighter/character-driven scenes where there are too many action scenes in the sequence. Remove events which are unnecessary. And make sure that everything makes sense!
  • This counts for second books in series as well. It should be good on its own, not just as a filler.

4. Don’t fast forward to the end

  • I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones.
  • If you’ve built up the story and set up everything for the final big bang, you have to deliver.
  • Keep the pacing somewhat similar to that of the rest of the story. Your readers have gotten used to it. And if they’re still reading at that point, they probably like that pace. Don’t write a relatively slow book and then have the climax be over in three pages.
  • I know you want the climax to be exciting. So, yes, make it a little more fast-paced than the middle. But not massively different.

5. Trust your characters

  • As with every aspect of creative writing, character is most important.
  • Is your character experiencing the scene quickly and choppily? Or are they slowing down and taking in everything?
  • If you stick with what your characters are feeling, you will get it right.

Look, exams have fried my brain. So, this isn’t the most well-formulated post I’ve made. But I hope that it can be helpful.

Reblog if you found these tips useful. Comment with your own pacing tips. Follow me for similar content.

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