SPA Girls Podcast – EP40 – Getting Your Pacing Right
This week we talked about tips and tricks to keep the pace of your novel moving at the right speed, all the way to the high impact ending. We each talk about the tricks we use to make the pace of our novels work for our readers. We talk about genre and how it affects pacing, also things like sentence structure, word sound, chapter length, and other methods you can use to keep your pacing fast or slow. It’s all about creating the right rhythm for your novel, so that your reader follows you through to the end. 🙂
What Is Pacing?
Pacing is the speed and rhythm of the book you are writing. Genre can play la arge hand in pace. For example, if you are writing a sweet/gentle story, the pace will be slower, than a high tempo thriller. Pace can also ebb and flow in each scene/chapter of the book, depending on what the writer is trying to convey. Pacing is vital for the flow of your book, and to ensure people keep reading!
Sometimes it is quite hard to see the pacing in the first draft of a story, and outlining can help with this, as it helps you plot each scene and what is needed to move the book forward. If you find yourself nodding off or yawning while writing a scene, then that would suggest that it needs to go.
Make sure the beginning of your book draws the reader in from the first page. Often we tend to set the scene, and yes, ramble, which can mean we have to go back and cut out some of our precious words.
The more you write the more you understand pacing.
Make sure your chapter and scene endings finish on a question, turning point, dramatic event etc. So the reader wants to start the next page.
Changing POV when there is a cliffhanger at the end of the chapter can help pacing. The next scene is set in a different place and time, which can make the reader want to keep reading. This can up the suspense.
There are three things to remember about pacing in a book. Pacing in the words and sentence structure, in a chapter, and the entire book. Short sentences can move the scene and amp up the tension.
Words can help move the pace and heighten a scene. Using descriptive language and constant sounds, can indicate more action. Get rid of any unnecessary words in a scene.
Don’t overwrite a scene, and remember not to write the same thing several times in a different way.
Drop the he said she said. Trust your dialogue. If there are just two people in the conversation, then the reader should be able to follow.
Shorter chapters can also increase the pacing.
The best words a writer can hear, is that a reader could not put down their book!
Some people like/dislike prologues. But often they can help if you have a lot of world building and back story to get down. This can be genre based, and is sometimes used in sci-fi, paranormal and historical.
A reader will not say at the end of a book they did not think it was paced well, because chances are they have no clue what that means. So what they’ll say is, it wasn’t for me. Too slow, didn’t grab me. A lot of this can be put down to pacing. A good way to determine where the problem lies is to ask where they stopped reading or the story stopped grabbing them.
Word choice and sentence structure is a big part of pace. Don’t repeat words constantly, use a thesaurus if you have trouble with this.
Read the authors you like, books you like, and check out what appeals, and how the pacing works. Know the pacing expectations for the books in your genre.
Endings are important so make sure you give the reader what they want. You have led them through your book so don’t let them down, and make sure you wrap things up nicely. Use your HFN (happy for now) HEA (happy ever after). Remember don’t rush!