Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Putting the P in Pacing

I don't really have a P for Pacing, I just liked the 3 P's in the title :)

A reader asked yesterday what is pacing? (in relation to Bekah's post yesterday)

Pacing is the flow of your story. This includes not just the beginning, middle and end but the threads that are woven throughout to get the characters from point A to point B to point C.  (oohhh. Points. Maybe that's my P in Pacing? hahaha)

Pacing is key because without a solid sense of pacing, your story can come off forced or contrived or random. You want your writing to be intentional through out, and pacing is crucial to achieve that.

Go back to a book you've read before that just WORKED. You loved it. Zero complaints. I bet you'll find the pacing was solid throughout.

Think about it from the other way too - have you ever read a story where it was going good, but the middle sagged and got slow/boring and you were tempted to put it down? In suspense, this is where they say "throw in another dead body". ha. We don't always get that choice though in other genres ;) 

Or have you read a book where the beginning was slow but by the end you were like YES! Awesome story!

Or have you ever read a book where you were enjoying it but suddenly the book ended WAY too soon? Needed another 3 chapters or so to even out? Or vice versa, where the book essentially ended but there were still 3 chapters of nothing afterward?

Pacing. Pacing. Pacing.

This is achieved with practice. (oohhh another P in Pacing! YES!)  You just have to read and learn and write and let this come naturally. But you can write intentionally and keep this in mind as you go. Just being aware of this element as you write will help you achieve it. Think threads. Weave those threads throughout, even the small ones of subplots or side characters.

Any questions? Any more P's for me? :)


  1. Great post, Betsy. Yesterday I was like "I bet she'll tackle that tomorrow..." Bad pacing can definitely ruin what would have otherwise been a good story. Good pacing can be hard to execute, though. Sometimes my best friend (she's a fantasy writer) and I joke around about it. I'll tell her, "You have it easy! Your story starts lagging and you just bring in another dragon or battle. Me? What am I supposed to do? Bring in another lover? Ahem... No. I prefer CHRISTIAN romance." Of course, I know that there's more to her writing than that, but it does seem like some genres have an easier time mixing things up than others... Lol.

  2. Well done and nicely explained. :)

  3. Glad to help, guys! Ashley, that's hilarious. Yes romance can definitely be trickier. Not fair! lol Just think conflict conflict conflict though

  4. Thanks! I know what you mean. A lot of time watching movies and stuff its the worst right before the ending ramps up. The last part of act 2, maybe some people need to just cut that part!