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How to Write a Novel: Pacing

            What lessons can writer’s learn from the tortoise and the hare? Pacing is what. The tortoise won because he put himself at a good steady pace and got across the finish line, whereas the hare wore himself out halfway through the race. What’s this go to do with writing?

            Well it goes two ways for the writer. One is that the writer should pace themselves and not try to rush to the end, not only because it can burnout the writer, but it can make the story seems rushed and ruin it’s pacing. However, you try watching a tortoise race and see if you stay awake long enough to see him get to the end…. See what I mean. Pacing does depend on the genre of course. Suspense and Thrillers are generally fast, but even they don’t have to be rushed and God forbid their slow. Anyway, there are many examples of bad pacing in a novel and it happens for one reason or another.

            One reason it happens is that the writer is trying to get done with the novel. It happens to me. I want to finish this novel and get it over with because in four more weeks, I start school, so this four weeks is it for a while and I pump out the story, sometimes leaving details and words out that will affect the pacing. Not only that, but when that adrenaline rush kicks in as I write the end of my novel, I almost always miss a few crucial details that I have to go back and edit in.

            The worst type of rushing though is the kind where the pacing gets messed up because the writers is obviously trying to rush to get to a particular scene they’re trying to write. I never had this problem. I’m always one who liked a good set up so that when I got that scene, it really packed one hell of a punch. But a friend of mine did have that problem where the pacing was too fast, therefore when he got to that part he wanted to write, it didn’t seem explosive or important because no events led up to it. It had no impact, no release of tension.

            On the flip side, there’s the stories where the pacing is obviously too slow and focuses on things that really don’t do anything to build up the story at all. This usually happens when the writer is trying to get to a word count and fill in the story to meet the goal. I used to have that problem, but now my novel is a million times better since I cut it out.

            So you think you have one of these problems huh? No need to fear. Lady Dae is here with tips on how to fix these issues.

            1) You don’t have to write in chronological order: You really don’t If it’s a matter of you rushing through the novel to get to the part that you’re really excited about, write it down. Writing out of order like this can also make the story less daunting as it will be like writing a bunch of short stories to put together. Do be careful of the flow of the story when doing this though. Make sure it’s not choppy when you put it together and edit accordingly if you see any continuity problems. Personally, this doesn’t work for me. I generally need to write up to something, which bring me to my next tip.

            2) Write up to the scene: Generally, this helps me not drag out my novels, but it can also help a writer who rushes. If you put yourself in the mindset that every scene you write must somehow move the plot forward so that you get to where you’re going, you can help your pacing. But only can it help focus you so you don’t rush, but it can stop you from writing a bunch of unneeded scenes and chapters that are just there for the sake of nothing.

            3) If you feel like you’re in a rush, stop: This is the best thing to do if you’re prone to rushing. If you feel rushed, like you only have an hour to be done before you have to go to school or something important, just stop. Sometimes I won’t even get started because no doubt I’ll be beating myself over the head trying to add detail to something I rushed through.

            4) Listen to Music: I know some people can’t listen to music and write. That’s fine. But a little music can really help with pacing. Fine a song that goes with the tome of whatever you’re trying to writer and write as you listen. The best music for this is soundtrack music. Try it.

            5) Rome wasn’t built in a day: Your novel won’t be written in a day, and even if that was the case, you’ll spend much longer editing it. So better to slow down and take care of these issues that have to go back and do some serious editing for structural problems that are a result of bad pacing. Trust me. You don’t want to do it. Take the time to make sure you have a nice pacing now.

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