Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Tips for Pacing Your Novel

For years I read novels without really thinking about how they were structured. I just knew what I liked and what I didn't. "Pacing" was something I thought you did when you were worried and making a path in the carpet.

The first time I became aware of pacing was in reading Stephen King's novel, IT. He began to shorten the scenes and flashbacks, as the novel moved to the ending. I felt the tension building and building! I was riveted, unable to stop reading. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it as a good example of pacing.

I use a "foreshadowing" in my romantic suspense novels, to build the tension. And I've incorporated King's faster pacing methodology into my novels.

It's important to remember not to throw a large amount of backstory into your writing. This slows down the pace and instead of moving the novel forward, it becomes suspended. A good method of giving backstory is to drop bits and pieces of into dialogue.

As the story continues, the intensity picks up, the stakes are higher. Keep the tension tight as you move toward the climax. This is my favorite part of the writing process, and also as a reader this is my favorite part of the book. This is where the brightest moment (that sense of euphoria comes to bear) and is quickly followed by the darkest moment (when all seems lost).

The climax is a good meets bad in a final standoff scene, which leads to the resolution or ending--the place where the main character has solved the problem and achieved the award.

And most important of all, don't disappoint your reader with a fast solution ending. And do remember to tie up all those subplots you've written along the way.

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