Pacing: Capturing the Rhythm of Your Story

This post by Sue Coletta originally appeared on Venture Galleries on 11/4/14.

PACING IS THE RHYTHM of the novel, of the chapters and scenes and paragraphs and sentences. It is also the rate at which the reader reads and the speed at which the events unfold. By using specific word choices and sentence structure– scene, sequel, chapter, novel structure– we can tap the emotions of the reader so that the reader feels what the writer wants them to feel at any given point in the story.

Pacing is especially important in crime writing.

Almost everything you read on the internet deals with picking up the pace, because so many new writers pace their novels too slowly. But what if you’re like me, someone who writes at break-neck speed, never giving the reader a break from the action? I know when I’m doing it too. I’m literally on the edge of my seat, feeling like I just drank forty cups of caffeine.

Why would too fast be a problem? People want to curl-up with a good book and be entertained. They do not want to wipe the sweat from their brow, the action happening so fast they feel like they’re on a never-ending roller coaster, and they need to unwind after reading your story. Honestly, sometimes when I’m writing my first drafts I feel wired– sweaty, hot, the muscles in my shoulders knotted into balls of pure stress. If that’s how my story makes ME feel imagine what I’m doing to my reader.


Read the full post on Venture Galleries.