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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pace Yourself.....

Ladies...I am in lockdown trying to prepare for Hurricane Irene. Keep my family in your prayers as it's about to hit in a matter of hours. I reposted this from an email I received a few weeks ago from I promise to post something more personal when I finally get out of hurricane mode. Enjoy!

Writers must consider pacing when they learn how to write a novel. Pacing is a writing device used to control the speed at which a plot advances. Many people claim to have read a book they just couldn’t put down, which means they have read a book with great pacing. The pace of a novel features elements like knowing when to use description and when to add cliffhangers. It can encompass the style and structure of sentences. With pacing, writers need to make sure they don't go too fast or too slow. They need to find the right combination to keep the readers involved in the story.

Evaluate the Pace of the Novel
When it comes to writing a novel, a person can evaluate the pace of the story by reading it aloud and by asking questions. By paying attention while reading, he or she can identify areas that need an adjustment to the pace.

In some cases, people may feel like their eyes glazed over. Or they may suddenly find themselves thinking about what they need to buy at the grocery store? If so, they have most likely allowed the pace to slow down too much.

At other times, a writer may read a section and feel drained, tired, or out of breath? These types of feelings can indicate that the pace is too fast. Writers should expect to their readers to feel the same way they do about a certain section.

Control Pacing With Sentence Structure
The way a person writes sentences can play a role in the pace of his or her fiction writing. Long, flowing sentences slow down the action. By adding in descriptive sentences, an author allows the reader to take a break from action-packed moments. Short sentences build tension. They propel the reader forward.

Depending on the scene, authors can use sentence structure to improve the pace. If a paragraph seems to drag, a person can look at the sentences and consider whether he or she can cut some of them or reduce them to be quick-paced. When a writers feel like they are rushing through a scene, they can consider adding a descriptive element. This can be done by pulling in the details of the setting. What does the main character hear, see, smell, taste, know, or feel? By weaving these answers into the story, a writer can slow the action down.

Read This Next
Fiction Writing Overview Basics of Writing Fantasy Fiction Structure of Your Novel: The Three Act Drama Use Dialogue, Internal Thoughts, and Exposition to Change the Novel’s Pace. Like sentence structure, there are other techniques writers can use to control the pace of the story. Short interchanges of dialogue between characters increase the speed at which a person will read the conversation. Long speeches by a certain character will slow it down.

Another technique involves the use of internal thoughts, also called internal monologue. By pulling the reader into the main character’s mind, authors slow the action. As an added bonus, this will also help the readers to feel connected to the main character.

With exposition, a writer brings the back story, or background information, into the text. There are a few ways to do this, including the use of writing tools like flashbacks or comparing a current event to a previous one. By nature, exposition slows the pace of the story.

When a writer feels like the story needs to pick up the pace, he or she can look for areas with too much dialogue, internal monologue, or exposition. Once a person identifies the problem, he or she should cut the elements killing the pace.

Utilize Writing Tools to Improve Novel Writing
By looking at elements like pace, writers craft a better novel, which means they are one step closer to their publishing goals. Every aspect of writing from hook to dialogue to internal monologue affects how a story reads, so authors want to make sure they pay attention to the craft of writing, as well as the creative process.

Marianne Morea


  1. Pacing is always so difficult but I'm getting better at it. Fantastic post. Thanks for all the helpful advice.

  2. Just now read your post, Marianne. How are things now in your world? I hope "Irene" passed you by. And, speaking of your topic, hurricanes have much too much pacing! :))

  3. Hi ladies! Thank you for your heartfelt well wishes...we are all safe and sound, thank God!

    I found this after a friend send me a link to the website If you scroll down to their section on Writing and Publishing, you'll find fabulous articles on the mechanics of writing. Well worth reading, if only as a quick refresher!


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