Pacing is an important part of any story and in fiction it helps control the speed at which you story is told. Fast pacing can be gripping and pull readers through the story. Slow pacing can often be used for emotional elements. The pacing will differ depending on the story you want to tell and should be seen as part of your structural choice. Getting the pacing right helps the story unfold the way you want it and it is a skill that many have to learn. In this week’s column, I’ve researched the different ways to master pacing in fiction so that you can take control of your story from start to finish and ensure it moves at the right pace.
- https://www.writersdigest.com/improve-my-writing/7-tools-for-pacing-a-novel-keeping-your-story-moving-at-the-right-pace – 7 Tools for Pacing A Novel & Keeping Your Story Moving at the Right Pace: This article from Writer’s Digest explores what pace is and how crucial it is to your story. It then moves on to look at 7 literary devices that you can use for pacing in your story. This includes action, cliff hangers, dialogue, prolonged outcomes, scene cuts, a series of incidents in rapid succession, short chapters and scenes, summary, and word choice and sentence structure. There is a detailed explanation for each of these so you will know how to use them to your advantage.
- https://www.well-storied.com/blog/how-to-create-strong-pacing-for-your-story – How to Create Strong Pacing for your Story: You can read or listen to this article from Well-Storied. It begins with a brief overview of pacing before looking at what constitutes strong pacing and ensuring that you have it in your story. It focuses on certain parts of the story and how to ensure you have consistent pacing throughout. The article looks at the different beats and what you must have in them before moving on to look at the pacing cycle. There are some excellent explanations of each of the points and there’s even a section on when to break the pacing cycle with examples.
- https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/7-quick-tips-for-mastering-pacing-in-your-story/ – 7 Quick Tips for Mastering Pacing in Your Story: Pacing is important whether you are writing a novel or short story and this article provides 7 quick tips you can use. The first of these tips is to break down the structure of the story and examine it closely. This will help you to see where you need to increase tension, slow things down, etc. Tip 2 looks at sentence, paragraph, and chapter length and how this can influence pacing. Tip 3 tells you what to do if you need to slow the pace down.
- https://blog.reedsy.com/pacing-in-writing/ – Pacing in Writing: 10 Powerful Ways to Keep Readers Hooked: This post from the ReedsyBlog begins by explaining why pacing is important before moving on to ten techniques that writers can use to control pacing in their stories. The techniques include examples too. Sentence length, descriptions, subplots, backstory, dialogue, cliff hangers, and more are all included, and the examples used help to show you exactly how to use them.
- https://www.livewritethrive.com/2019/05/27/4-key-ways-to-improve-tension-and-pacing-in-your-novel/ – 4 Key Ways to Improve Tension and Pacing in Your Novel: This article from C.S. Larken looks at how you can tell if scenes are dragging and have little tension and how you can speed up or slow down the pacing to bring about your desired effect. She talks about what not to do as well as what you should be doing with every scene.
- https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-master-narrative-pacing – How to Master Narrative Pacing: 7 Tips to Help Pace Your Writing: This is a Masterclass article that will take you three minutes to read. It begins by explaining what is meant by narrative pacing and why pacing is important before listing 7 tips to help you master pacing in fiction. These tips include changing the order of events, using breathers, varying the length of your sentences, keeping characters moving during dialogue, and varying your narration. The final tip is to read your work aloud so that you can notice the rhythm and flow and see where pacing needs to be adjusted.
- https://www.novel-software.com/blog?article=cracking-the-pace-of-your-novel – Cracking the Pace of Your Novel: The final link for this week comes from The Novel Factory. It begins by explaining the two types of pace which are story pace and paragraph pace. Story pacing will include direct action and summary. The article also discusses changes of direction. There is a section on prose pacing which looks at description vs action, sentence length, and word use. All of these together can help you master the pacing in your story and ensure you keep readers engaged.
I hope you enjoyed the links today and have a better understanding of what pacing does and how you can ensure that the pacing in your novel is what you want it to be. If there is a topic that you would like to see covered, get in touch and I will see what I can do.
(c) Amanda J Evans