Thursday, January 5, 2012

Writing Tips and Tricks-Pacing

So it’s time to talk about pacing. This is one aspect of writing that is incredibly difficult to master. There’s an art to it. Some writers master it, while others struggle. I’m always worried when I’m revising my work if I’ve gotten it right. My basic formula for pacing the story is Fast beginning-some slow(er) story developing-increased action to a climax in the middle-more developing-high action ending. The idea is to keep the story going up ,up, up. The action scenes, and even the slower scenes should move faster as the story progresses. Of course, there are exceptions to this system. Some stories move in a totally different direction. I’m just sharing what works best for me. As a writer, your job is to keep people reading. Pacing is a huge part of that. Find a system that works for you and use it.

Another pacing tip of the trade, is to use a cliff hanger at the end of a chapter. It’s simple and used a lot. And it works. People will keep reading, just to find out what happens.

If you’re not the explosions and apocalypse kind of writer, there are other, more subtle, ways to keep your readers attention. Introducing an intriguing mystery can make people want to know more. They will keep reading to find out the answer to whatever questions you’ve created in their minds. Those mysteries often slow the pace of a story, but they make stories interesting and worth reading. So use them wisely.

Pacing is is really about figuring out how fast the story needs to move and finding the best way to implement it.


  1. I honestly don't think there's any way for a writer to know if their pacing is correct. This is something that one needs a beta reader for. If you don't use one, no matter what your formula, you're taking a chance that you won't get it right.

  2. I agree with Michael.

    It's only when other people read your work that you can truly know if you've got the pacing right.

    This is something that worries me all the time as I work on my beast of an epic. It's written from more than one POV, about different but correlated events, so I can't leave chapters hanging in a way that will make readers want to skip pages.


  3. Betas are definately a huge help in spotting pacing issues, but I think it helps if the writer at least makes an effort to understand how the pacing works in their writing.

  4. Thanks for the reminder. I try to be aware of the pacing in my work - that's after I begin the editing.