Pacing: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O'Callaghan

Pacing in a novel is what keeps your reader turning the pages. This can be achieved by how you reveal information or by the length of a scene. The length of sentences and paragraphs and how much dialogue and description you use also contribute to the pacing. I have put together some articles and podcasts that address pacing and share advice on how to pace your novel.

  1. How to Master Narrative Pacing: 7 Tips to Help Pace Your Writing – 2023 – MasterClass

Good pacing is crucial to the flow of a successful narrative and without it, the story is dead on the page. The reader wants to be immersed in the thoughts and actions of your characters. They want to feel that they’re in the world you’ve created. Pace will keep you there. Masterclass shares 7 tips for mastering pacing in your writing. These include utilizing breathers. By balancing action scenes with more reflective, internal moments, you give the reader an equal dose of excitement and recovery. Changing the order of events can alter the pace. Try a method called in medias res which is where you open the story in the middle of the action and fill in the details later. Varying your sentence length can be refreshing too. Consider revealing information selectively – how much you reveal, when, and how you reveal it will add to your pacing.

  1. Pacing a Novel: Practical Tips and Techniques (thenovelry.com)

Whatever genre you’re writing in, the pace at which your story moves is incredibly important. Consider the pace you take your reader through so that you engage them, entertain them, and retain their attention throughout. This article from The Novelry explains 7 ways to master pacing in a novel. These include assessing the structure for pace, balancing fast and slow, not neglecting character development, making use of language, focusing on detail, withholding and revealing information, using a ticking clock, and finally, reading your work aloud. Examples from literature are used to demonstrate each way.

  1. Master Pacing in Fiction & Take Your Story From Boring to Exciting – Writer’s Digest (writersdigest.com)

Pacing is a crucial component of fiction writing. After all, it’s important to keep your readers hooked throughout your story. This article compares driving a car and choosing the most effective gear for uphill, city streets, or on a motorway. Similarly, when pacing your story, you need to choose the devices that move each scene along at the right speed. This article moves on to discuss the tools you can use to hasten your story. These are action, cliffhangers, dialogue, prolonged outcomes, scene cuts, a series of incidents in rapid succession, short chapters and scenes, summary, word choice, and sentence structure.

  1. Pacing in Writing: What it is and how to master it | Now Novel

Pacing is important because it helps keep a reader interested and maintains a desired atmosphere and tone. Now Novel shares 5 tips for getting the pacing in your novel right. You should plan the rise and fall of your novel’s plot and action, think of your novel pacing in structured units, hone your book’s pacing by reading the greats, use sentence structure to manipulate pacing in your writing, and slow your story’s pacing down with focus shifts, detail, and longer chapters.

  1. Pacing in Writing: 10 Powerful Ways to Keep Readers Hooked (reedsy.com)

Pacing affects the mood of your story, helps develop ideas and themes, and allows your readers to connect to the characters and the events that surround them. The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re outlining your novel and thinking about pacing is balance. This article from Reedsy shares 10 techniques for controlling pacing in your writing with examples. It begins with 5 techniques to slow down the pace including lengthening your sentences, adding descriptions, including subplots, using flashbacks and backstories, and adding more introspection. The article moves on to discuss 5 techniques to speed things up. These include shortening your sentences, using more dialogue, removing or limiting secondary subplots, using cliffhangers, and increasing the action.

PODCASTS
  1. How Important Is Pacing In a Novel? | Ep. 143 | The Merry Writer Podcast | The Merry Writer Podcast (podbean.com)

In this episode from The Merry Writer, they discuss the importance of pacing in a novel. They make recommendations regarding pacing, chat about things they aren’t keen on using, and differing opinions.

  1. Episode 102: Pacing Your Novel – Eat, Drink, Write. An Urban Fantasy Whiteboard – Podcast – Podtail

This podcast episode from Eat, Drink, Write, does a deep dive into the specifics of pacing your novel.

Pacing is essential to the flow of your writing. You can’t race through the entire story at breakneck speed. Your reader would be exhausted. At the same time, if every scene is a slow burner, you might put your reader off. Balance is the key. I hope this week’s column has been useful for you. As always, if there are any topics you would like me to cover, please get in touch.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel, The Lies Beneath – to be published by Poolbeg in April 2024.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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