Pacing. A slow and steady climb, or a rollercoaster?

Filed under Writing.


This week my class focused on pacing in our stories. Our professor told us to imagine what our story feels like – is it a slow and steady pace, a fast and furious, or a roller coaster ride? Several people in my class came up with their own metaphors. A river with waterfalls, with the story beginning with a fall drop, a winding road up a mountain, skiing or snowboarding. A great exercise to get in touch with the pace of your story. Are you writing to match the style of pace you think the story should be? It’s an interesting question. Then our professor provided us with tips for keeping a fast pace, and suggestions on what to avoid. My top three favorite tips are:


1. Hook the reader in the first two chapters. Don’t get bogged down with backstory or flashbacks.

2. Search for tags in dialogue like “said”, “shouted”, and “laughed”. Replace these with actions to demonstrate emotion. (show don’t tell).

3. Repetition or echoes can distract and slow down the reader. (I do this one a lot and have to be aware and careful to avoid it.

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