If this is your first time writing a book, and you are a few pages into the manuscript, you might already know that pacing is crucial. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing a story, novel, or a self-help book – mastering the pace of your writing is something that you will want to nail.
Before we plunge into the list of tips that will help you master the pacing in your writing, let us take out a few minutes to define what pacing is about. Basically, pacing refers to the rhythm, flow, and speed in which the story unfolds, including the rise and fall of the events that are part of the plot.
Roughly stated – the pacing is all about how fast or slow you narrate the story to your readers.
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Referring to the writing pace, let us quickly look at some essential tips that will help you master the pace of your storytelling.
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Examine the Plot Structure
It doesn’t matter whether you have completed your story’s first draft–or– have just jotted down the story’s outline; you will want to examine the plot and break it down into sections. Then, you will want to examine the sections closely.
You can use a mind map to jot down the main events of the narrative. By doing so, you will see where exactly you will need to put the focus. You will have a clearer understanding of where you can slow down things and where you will need to increase the storytelling pace and increase tension.
By closely examining the plot and breaking it into sections, you will also see where and how the narrative rises and falls throughout the story. Furthermore, you will be easily pointing out inconsistencies and understand how you could smooth the inconsistencies out.
Use Length as a Strategy
Another easy way to master the pacing in your writing is to strategically use the length of sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. For instance, if you narrate a fight scene, you will want to incorporate shorter paragraphs and sentences to keep things exciting and fast-paced.
You could also end the chapter on a cliffhanger to emphasize the dramatic impact. By doing so, you will heighten the feeling of suspense and have the readers on edge when they are flipping through pages, desperate to find out what is happening next.
When you allow the readers to peep into a character’s mind, you will want to keep a slow pace. This way, the readers can delve deeper into the character’s mind. You will want to use longer sentences as it will prove to be more effective.
In the sections where you want the readers to comprehend the inner workings of your characters – you will want to use longer sentences – even be a bit more lyrical. This will encourage the readers to linger over the details by going over every word.
Add More Details to Slow Down Things
The more you add details, the slower the pacing will become, which is also where the readers will start to pay attention to the details. You will want to think of this strategy in terms of a slow-motion shot from a movie.
These kinds of shots aim at getting the viewers’ focus on each angle, hence making them (viewers) experience each moment in great detail. When it comes to slowing down the writing pace, you will want to incorporate a similar technique to get a similar effect.
You can incorporate this strategy when you want to draw the reader’s attention to a critical moment in the story. To heighten the effect, you will want to juxtapose a slow-paced scene with a fast-paced one, further drawing your readers into the story.
Integrate Introspection to Control Pace
As a writer, you should know that character development makes an important part of the plot – and you can actually use introspection – not only as an efficient character development method – but also as a way to control the pace.
Of course, in order for your story to sell, you will need an exciting plot – but – the plot will do you no good without the involvement of characters.
Now by using introspection, you enable your readers to have a deeper peep into the character’s motivations and subconscious mind, which will make them connect with the characters – developing a sense of understanding and empathy.
By providing introspection, you will sort of slow down the story, which is why introspection provides a perfect counterpoint to the faster-paid scenes. When it comes to introspection, you have several options to choose from, such as stream of consciousness and delivering an internal monologue.
Nonetheless, you will want to ensure to incorporate the introspection in the right place. For instance, introspection would work splendidly in the middle of a murder scene. Suppose your story is about a murderer – you could launch a long paragraph about the murderer’s inner thoughts while they are committing the crime.
Ask for Feedback
Before publishing and releasing your book to the world, you will want to fish for honest feedback in this area. You might want to work with beta readers and ask them about their feedback in this area.
Ask them explicitly about their opinion on the story’s pacing. Believe us – you might have the perfect plot, but if your story hasn’t had the correct type of pacing, your readers won’t follow the story as they should.
So, the pacing is an area in writing that you can improve with the valuable feedback that you obtain from critique partners. The essential benefit of having beta readers go through your story and assess the pacing of the story is that it can help you get the perspective of a general reader.