Writing a good story has so much to do with the pace at which the story unfolds. You can have a good plot, great characters and interesting scenes, but if it is written or told at the wrong pace it will bore or overwhelm your reader.
In this modern day and age, our readers are used to having all the information they need and want in the palm of their hands...literally. It is a challenge to find the rate and pace to hand out the entire story line. You must string your reader along without losing their interest and you must let them feel the excitement of the scene without blowing them out of the water.
I've spent years researching, writing and reading to try to accomplish this perfect balance.I've only discovered-
There is no secret way to learn correct pacing.
Some writers have an instinctual knowledge of how to accomplish this. Others, like me, must learn, practice, and revise our brains out.
Every genre, however, has a different pace that will work.
If you write true romance, the pace of the love story or interest must be immediate attraction, magnetic draw, an overwhelming desire to be together, broken heart or trust and reconciliation. For non-romance readers, this immediate physical and emotional pace feels false.
For action, thriller and suspense, every scene must move toward an action packed, dramatic final battle. Each battle in between must build in intensity and stakes
The pace of the genre depends on the audience, the plot, and the theme.
One thing all genres have in common though, is-
The tools you use to set the pace.
#1. Voice- voice breaks down to 2 types
To slow a scene down a passive voice will lengthen out the sentences, draw out the narrative and reflect the reader back into the story. Your passive voice should not be more than 5 % of your total manuscript though.
Active voice keeps the narrative in the present, moving forward and staying with the plot instead of reflecting back on it. one trick to remove passive voice is to eliminate words like: had, has, or have been.
"Jane had been riding her bike before the accident." or "Jane rode her bike. "
#2. verb forms and types- Verbs are used in past and present forms as well as perfect and imperfect forms. Present tense always puts your reader in the moment something is happening and increases intensity. "The metal tears, screaming its protest as it shreds away from the car."
"The metal tore. It screamed in protest as it shredded away from the car."
One is faster than the other and feels more extreme.
#3. Dialogue- The length and content of a conversation will increase or decrease the pace of your scene. If your character is in danger and you want to increase suspense the use of dialogue should be more drawn out.
If your character is in danger and you want your reader scrambling with the character through their obstacles, use short, sentence fractures.
""Its too late for you. The sea will claim your broken body after I have taken your last breath. My hands will find the final beat of your heart as I twist your puny neck. You have nowhere to run or hide and no one to save you. Only my ears will hear your cries before I sacrifice your blood to the night."
""You can't run."
"Nothing personal. I need blood. yours will do."
Every scene, chapter and section of your story needs balance between fast and furious or long and drawn out. The reader must take a break and breathe before they run out of air. Just make sure when you're finding your balance your aren't stealing the last of the oxygen or suffocating your reader. I'm always looking for tips and skills to make pacing a natural part of my writing instead of a chore during editing. If you can help...leave me a comment or suggestion., In the meantime, keep writing!