I’m working on a series on pacing. You can see other posts in the series here.
There’s still a lot more to cover on pacing, but now you’ve been introduced to the idea that pacing can work on pretty much every level (even high levels, as in the beginnings examples), so I’ll wrap things up here.
Pacing is about connecting form to content. Any element of form or content can have a corresponding element on the other side of the equation.
When you find a short story idea that’s turning into a novel, it’s because your subconscious is trying to match the content of your idea (too complex to be a short story) with its proper form. And vice versa.
When you struggle to make your characters do what you want them to do, it may be that the pacing of the characters is such that they want to act sooner, or later, or completely differently, than you want them to.
When you find yourself locked in the grip of writer’s block, it may be that you’re trying to fight a struggle between an outline that you’ve written, and the combination of form and content that you’ve set out on the page.
When you write a scene whose paragraphs and low-level pacing don’t resemble the content that you think you’re writing, don’t be surprised if a plot twist appears out of nowhere: sometimes writing a discrepancy between form and content is the subconscious’s way of telling you that all is not what it seems.
I won’t get into it much here, but:
You don’t need to plan this all out, when it comes to pacing.
In fact, avoid planning as much as possible. Give your subconscious as little as possible, and get out of the way.
Your subconscious is a drama queen, and it will handle the logistics of pacing for you, if you trust it. Just step back, admire the work, and resist the urge to rewrite. Fix the commas and let your subconscious get on with it 🙂
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