A poll stated that a huge amount of American’s want to start writing their own books. It seems rather simple, doesn’t it? You get your laptop, open Word and off you go. A few pages in, you start to question your story. “It’s not very good, is it?” you say. You start to wander away from the story, and suddenly you’re on Google, reading about the 2005 election. You have lost the vitality you need to keep to write a book. This is the fourth of a five-part series on publishing a book. We are going to go over a few goals, a few settings and a few ideas that will help you get that book finished. This week we will be looking at pacing yourself and your writing, which seems to be one of the biggest problems writers have.
There are many tools you can use to hasten your story. Some of them are better for micro-pacing, which is line-by-line, and some are more useful for macro-pacing, which increases the speed of your book as a whole.
Action scenes are where you actually show what happens in the story. When written in short (or slightly longer) sentences, move your story along. Action scenes have no, or very few, distractions, and are short on description and transitions. These scenes have limited character thoughts and normally concentrate on survival.
When a scene or a chapter ends with a cliff-hanger, the pace naturally picks up because the reader will become absorbed in the book and will start to flip pages, trying to find out what happens next. Readers have a love/hate relationship with cliff-hangers, and writers would be wise to use their cliff-hangers carefully. One simple tip to create a good cliff-hanger: Have your characters talking and end that conversation suddenly with a threat. That’s a cliff-hanger, but beware! Do it too many times and readers will get sick of it. Do it just enough and readers won’t be able to stop reading your book. It’s a science.
Rapid-fire dialogue with little information is a good way to invigorate scenes in your book. It is rather like the volleying of a tennis ball. Short, snappy, real life conversations draw your readers into the story. You can allow your characters to confront, engage, argue or ponder in these situations.
These cuts move the story to a new location and assume the reader can still follow the story without need of explanation of why the story went from London to Manhattan in one easy page turn. The reason for doing this is to move the story forward. You can introduce new characters, new ideas and take your story to the next level. Just don’t let it get confusing.
Shorter Scenes and Chapters
These are easy to digest and interesting to write. Short scenes and chapters allow the reader to pass through quickly, while you allow the story to continue forward in an abbreviated way.