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Pacing—A Necessary Consideration

Prepared to Write

Pacing. No, not the pacing you do to when you count your steps to estimate a distance as in just how long is this putt? I'm talking about pacing in writing. It makes a difference with a story, trust me. Too long a sentence or paragraph will slow down the pace of your story. It will bog the reader down, and they can lose interest.


Think of a song. If it's played too fast or too slow, you ruin it. Some songs are written for fast tempo and others are written for a slow tempo. Also, portions of a song may vary in the tempo. It's the same with a book's scenes. Some should have a fast tempo, others a more relaxed, slow tempo.


An action scene needs a fast pace, so shorter sentences. Boom. Boom. Boom. Verbal confrontations like action narration will be faster. In Sparks Fly, I tried for shorter sentences when Caleb fought the fire at Avis's house.  I hoped to capture the urgency he experienced while fighting the fire and searching for Avis.


When writing sex scenes, I want slow things down and draw you into the characters' lovemaking. I don't want it to be a rushed scene. I'm looking to demonstrate how they care for each other and build the passion of the moment.


Sometimes I get a bit wordy in the narrative and run a variety of issues in one paragraph or one sentence. There's a proper place for conjunctions, but they don't always belong in a sentence. Case in point if the joined words aren't related, don't throw in an "and," "but," or "so." The same goes for paragraphs. If they're different topics, I insert a break or move them to a better spot.


There's also a rhythm within a sentence and the variety of paragraph lengths to consider. If it all sounds very technical to you, you're right. Fortunately, the AutoCrit editing platform helps me address these technicalities.


The next time you read a book, watch for the pacing. Does a scene strike you as sluggish? Did you slip through the book at an appropriate speed as the words and lengths of sentences and paragraphs led you through each scene at the perfect pace for what was happening?


Writing is not easy. There's much to consider and much to learn.

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