Long-lost library sculpture returns to L. But the mystery continues. A section of the Well of the Scribes sculpture returns to the L. Central Library, 50 years after it vanished. The other two pieces are still missing. Its follow-up? No chance. And a mess. Pacing in fiction refers to the speed at which a story unfolds — its rhythm and flow, the rise and fall of its plot points and events.
How Long Should Novel Chapters Be? | Writer's Digest
Basically, it's how quickly or slowly you're telling the story to readers. Well-considered, controlled pacing is important, because without it, a story will feel uneven and disjointed. Parts that are too fast risk rushing readers through and losing impact, while parts that are too slow risk boring them. It's important to balance faster- and slower-paced sections in your work to create a story that flows seamlessly, develops plot and characters effectively, and engages readers consistently.
How to Outline a Novel: an Author's Guide (with Template)
Let's dive into some quick tips on how to achieve just that! Break down the structure of your story Whether you have an outline or plan for your story, or you've already completed your first draft , one way to work out how pacing should flow is to break the story down and examine the pieces closely. Scrivener's scene and chapter cards are a useful way to do this, but you can also hand-write or type out a basic breakdown yourself.
All you need is the main events of the narrative mapped out in the order they occur.
Use sentence, paragraph and chapter length to influence pace One of the easiest ways to control pacing in your story is through the length of your sentences, paragraphs and chapters. In a fight scene , for example, you want to keep things fast-paced and exciting. To achieve this, use short, choppy sentences and shorter paragraphs to keep readers' eyes flying over the words. Perhaps end the chapter on a cliffhanger to keep them flipping pages, desperate to find out what happens next.
Image via Kaboompics In a slower-paced section, on the other hand — perhaps one where you want to delve deeper into a character more on this below — longer sentences and paragraphs will be more effective. You can also afford to be a little more lyrical rather than strictly economical with words in these sections, allowing the prose to slow the pacing a little by encouraging readers to linger over every word. Use heightened detail when you want to slow things down Another way to slow down the pacing — especially for a single moment that you want to highlight — is to heighten the attention to detail.
Think of a slow-motion movie shot. This kind of shot amps up the focus on each visual aspect, allowing the viewer to experience a single moment in exquisite detail.
Image via Pexels You can utilise a similar technique and achieve a similar effect in your writing. This sort of ultra-slowed-down moment is perhaps most effective when juxtaposed with an otherwise fast-paced scene, adding interest and drawing attention to a climactic moment. Use introspection to develop character and control pace Never forget that character development is just as important as plot development in fiction.
An exciting plot is all well and good, but it will mean nothing to readers if they don't understand or care about the characters involved in it. Character development through introspection can reveal motivations , provide understanding and a sense of empathy, and overall help you craft believeable characters.
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The Uneven Road (First Light, #2)
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