Writing Tip 43: Pacing

Top 10 Tips for pacing your book


Sometimes is hard to determine if your pacing in your book is too fast or too slow depending on the rhythm and flow of your novel. And it also depends on your genre and the voice you want to convey.

Tip 1: Structure

Consider having an outline of your novel and this would be easy to see how you should pace your novel. You can see where you can increase the pace if it’s too slow and lagging or decrease the pace if it’s too fast and the pace seems exhausting. Creating a structure will help to map out your novel and clearly see where you can fix the pace.

Your novel should be a roller coaster of fast, medium, and slow pacing. I prefer to have this within the novel as well as within the chapters.

Tip 2: POV

Consider the characters experience and emotions in the chapter. If the character is experiencing sadness then slowing down the pace would engage the reader and help connect the reader with the character. Vice versa if the character is in a stressful situation or in a chase then the pacing should reflect the action being conveyed as well as the emotion that the character is experiencing.

Tip 3: Sentence Structure

Longer sentences go in slower paced scenes and shorter sentences go in faster-paced scenes.

Just keep in mind to maintain a varying length of sentences in your novel to avoid your entire novel to read choppy, repetitive, seem like a textbook read, or boring.

Tip 4: Details

If you’re writing a slower pace scene you heighten the detail and if your writing a fast pace scene keep your detail description at a minimum as adding too many details in a fast-paced scene can alter the pacing.

Don’t be too detailed in the action scene or write it too vaguely where the reader wouldn’t visualize the scene or it happened so fast that the reader had to make a double take at the blurred scene they just read.

Tip 5: Filler

Readers should not be reading about the characters mundane daily activity. EXCEPTION: Unless whatever the characters are doing is critical to the story then there is no need to include it. Filler information is usually things that writers include to increase word count. This type of information with the exception mentioned above is unnecessary and slows the pacing of the novel.

text on shelf
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Tip 6: Filter Word

Filter words are verbs that filter the readers experience through the main characters. See, hear, realize, think, decide, and know are some filter words most commonly used. I use them throughout my novel, however, it is used for a purpose. It is used to convey an important of the story. Most of the time filter words distance the readers from the story. They also slow the pacing.

Tip 7: Dialogue Speed

If the characters are in a heated conversation then dialogue tags should be omitted or used sparingly especially if there are only two characters involved. In my novel, I gave my characters unique voices that even if there weren’t any dialogue tags you can more or less know who is the speaker by the way the characters voices are portrayed in the novel. Keep the narration relative and limited.

If the dialogue is relaxing then adding narrative to the scene is ideal such as describing body language, emotions, or their surrounding.

Tip 8: Cliffhangers

Cliffhangers keep the story moving. It keeps readers turning pages without putting the book down. Granted not every chapter ending will require a cliffhanger but it is great if added for dramatic effect, suspense, surprise, and emotional attachment.

Tip 9: Transitions

Adding transitions to keep the novel moving. I know I’m going to contradict myself here but this would be a great time to include some sort of filler. This is to connect the reader to the character and to add some sort of realism to the story as well as serving as a good transition from one scene to the next. Notice that in this instance the filler is used on purpose to move the story along.

Tip 10: Feedback

Ask other people about your pacing. Get beta readers or critique partners to assist in reading your novel so that they can give you feedback. Because something that may seem great to you since you are the writer may seem dull to others.

I hope these tips can assist you in your writing. If you have any other helpful pacing tips leave them in the comment below.

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