Friday, May 04, 2007

Technical Topic -- Pacing

When I write
I don't think so much in terms of 'pacing' as of 'forward momentum'.

Yes, you need to vary the pacing.
Some scenes run just dead fast,
some jog along, intense and steady,
some go contemplative and slow.

Some stuff works better when it's done slowly -- complex emotional development.
Some stuff works better when it's done fast -- fight scenes. Conflict of many kinds.

But more important than the scene moving 'fast' or 'slow' is whether the ongoing narrative drags the reader along.

It is when the reader is not entrapped by the narrative that she stops and says ... 'this is too slow'.
and she doesn't generally mean the pacing should be speeded up.
The pacing can be hectic.
She often means her attention is not beeing pulled along fast enough.

And the writer hears the 'this is too slow' and says ... "I have to speed up the pacing,'
and turns the speed up another notch
and makes more stuff happen.

Look at Hitchcock.
He varies fast- and slow-paced scenes to great effect ... uses a gradual increase in pace to build tension.
And yet, his movies are full of slow-paced scenes
you can't look away from.


  1. Anonymous8:51 AM

    I came over from AW to look at your blog, and you make good points. (One suggestion: I'd change the body font (Lucida Sans Unicode?) to something else. This one looks fine in MS Word, but here it has jagged edges, uncomfortable on the eyes.)

  2. Hi Anon --

    Let me finish with the chapters I MUST GET DONE and I will give this some thought and action.

    Have to go in and mess with the template, I suspect.