Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pacing

It's been a while since I shared an old Auntie WIP article with you. This one is about pacing.
First, let’s look at what the Oxford University Press Dictionary tells us about pace/pacing.

pace: noun 1. speed or rate of motion, development, or change. verb 5 move or develop (something) at a particular rate or speed.

Of course, you’re thinking, “Say what?” Well, let me say I found that most writers agreed pacing is tied with how much backstory, dialogue, and action you include in your story.

So to slow down a story include backstory, narrative, introspection, and long, complicated sentences. To speed it up add dialogue (no boring greetings or exchanged pleasantries), action, plot or subplot turn points, short sentences and paragraphs.

Do remember that too much of one or the other can be boring or too intense. You can imagine if we read several paragraphs of introspection, such as how pretty the sunset is over the Pacific, we would lose interest. Or if we read scene after scene of car chases, foot chases, boat chases...you get the idea. How believable could it be for the hero or heroine to never rest? Not counting that your reader would need a rest too.

Pacing can set moods. A few years ago, I read that the best way to make a scene more frightening was to have the scene before it to be mellow, slow such as a romantic moment.

Imagine that you’re reading a scene where the hero is holding the heroine in his strong arms and whispering in her ear. He tells her that he loves her and wants to live happily ever after with her. Then in the next paragraph his face changes. Suddenly a demon with horns and ridged forehead emerge. I don’t know about you, but I would be upset. I certainly would want to scream right along with the heroine who’s scrambling out of his arms.

Sounds almost like the old Michael Jackson video, doesn't it?

Here is a good link to check out more about pacing.