People talk about pacing as if it were some great and mysterious thing. However, mostly what pacing is, is a laborious observation of three ostensibly dull areas:
- Paragraph length.
- Sentence length.
- Word length.
Once you have a grasp on those things, then you can start worrying about:
- Scene length.
- Chapter length.
- Plotting (how thick and fast the events happen in the story).
Literally, in order to understand pacing better (unless you magically already have a natural sense of it, in which case good for you, skip this!) you have to go, “How many words are in this paragraph? How many words are in this sentence? How many big words are in this section?”
At first you want to slit your throat. “I didn’t become a writer so I could spend time counting.” But after a couple of sessions, you can start guesstimating and getting a sense of what’s “normal” and what sticks out as being unusual.
Then you start hazarding guesses why the unusual stuff is happening the way it is, and that’s where you start sounding all intelligent and insightful and crap. But it’s really just built on forcing your brain to look at writing in a way it normally doesn’t.
If you liked this post, why not check out my short Alice in Wonderland novel, The Clockwork Alice? It’s all about murdering the time…