1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Handling Pace

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, May 8, 2013.

    I'm working on expanding a story into a novel - I'm having a hard time with pace.
    It's sort-of action packed - road trip revenge story, but it also delves into a psychological
    side of the characters with slower scenes.
    Does anyone have any tips on slowing a scene down to add- I don't know if I should
    call it back story or more insite/update on how the character is doing, feeling? Is it
    just an instinct for the scene or do you actually leave yourself a little note to go back
    and add something later on?

    Sorry if my question is so scattered. That's the problem I'm feeling kind of scattered:)
     
  2. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I usually just add those pauses in story as I'm writing. Somehow, I feel it creates better flow than if I add it later, but everyone's different. I'm not sure what you're having trouble with. Is it: when is the best time to add character reflection in an action scene? Or do you just need more ways of slowing down a scene other than back story and character reflection?

    For the latter, I guess you could talk about the circumstances of the action. The events leading up to it that the reader doesn't know. You could talk about political and moral reasons, the consequences after the fact, or whatever. This can all come from a character's thoughts and give some depth to his psychology. Well that sort of is character reflection, but it can also be told from an extradietic narrator.. if you're using one. Somehow I feel I didn't answer your question...
     
  3. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    peach...
    Please take the time to fix the format of your posts so that they are easier to figure out what it is that you are saying/asking. It's not that hard to do.

    See...?

    "I'm working on expanding a story into a novel - I'm having a hard time with pace. It's sort-of action packed - road trip revenge story, but it also delves into a psychological side of the characters with slower scenes.

    Does anyone have any tips on slowing a scene down to add- I don't know if I should call it back story or more insite/update on how the character is doing, feeling? Is it just an instinct for the scene or do you actually leave yourself a little note to go back and add something later on?

    Sorry if my question is so scattered. That's the problem I'm feeling kind of scattered."

    Answer:

    it's better to keep the action sequences mostly in action mode--action scenes are not the time for contemplative thought (internal dialogue) or back story. Using more description is how you slow down the action (if you are thinking that this is wise to do at that point). However, you can always fit that stuff in after the action is completed--like if/when the character(s) think back on what happened, or are trying to figure out what just happened...you know, that kind of thing.

    If you want to hasten the pace during dialogue (internal or with another character) then you leave off describing too much detail and use clipped verbiage and shorter sentences instead.

    *Edit: actually, it was a bit harder to fix your format than I thought. Try setting your ruler at the top for your word processor to 4 inches and that should take care of it.
     
  4. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you looking for structural ways to change the pacing (for the reader) or for tips on how to slow a story down (as an author)?

    Adjusting your paragraph length will change the pace at which a reader moves through a scene (short paragraphs are faster than long ones). Adding more detail will slow the progression of the scene within the story. When I hit a spot where I need something and don't know what I need (at the time) I just leave myself a note in brackets. Sort of:

    Steve wandered down the lonely road, the hot sun on his back. [something happens to knock him into a ditch] When he awoke, he had no idea where he was.
     
  5. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    What's the difference...?
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    This question was really hard to put into words. But thanks for the responses.

    I'm struggling, I suppose to have that moment when the character absorbs or thinks over what's happening. I'm 23 pages in and though it's happening in snippets its not the major hash over I would like to explore - however, I am coming up to a motel scene and I'm thinking this could be the natural break I'm looking for.

    So far the beginning has been action and dialogue with small insights into the character dropped like a crumb path. I'm not totally opposed to this but it was making me a little nervous as in previous novels this has never happened to me before or was such a struggle.

    RhDuke -
    Like this!

    Nee Sorry, about the format thing.
    This is good.

    Kyle I'm glad someone else does the brackets thing! I'm starting to think it's more a story problem than an actual writing structure issue. I think I need to wait for a break in the action or clip one of my action sequences.
     
  7. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can bombard the reader with new details, facts, and ideas that keep the reader moving (from page to page) at a fast pace, but which offer no progression of a story. Or you can create long, slow-reading, complex passages that rapidly move a story but which physically slow the reader.
     
  8. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    There are many things you can do to effect the pace. Structurally, you can have many short sentences. Like so
    "Raymond walked to the store. He looked at the potato chips. Should he get BBQ or salt and vinegar? He picked up a bag. And a cashier ranged it up."
    This slows down the reading, but if I used longer sentences, look what happens
    "Raymond walked to the store, so he could get potato chips, but he couldn't decide between BBQ or salt and vinegar, so he picked regular, and he brought it to a cashier,who ranged it up."
    With one long sentence, with multiple transitions, the pace gets increased because the reader is forced to continue after the commas which encourage a reader to keep reading, while periods tell a reader to wait a second, now move on.

    To slow down a story's pace through a story aspect
    You can use a flashback or describe something in good detail.

    To speed up a story you can
    Use dialogue

    Hoped I helped Peach! :(
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Adding detail slows pace, sticking to raw actions increases the pace. Save description for when your characters have time to look around. When events are whirling past, no one catches all the details.
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks Blackstar you did!
    Thanks also Cogito!

    I've been going over what I wrote and it's not as bad as first suspected, for a first draft I'm okay with it. I think I'm panicking but it's not going like my other novels which may not necessarily be a bad thing - lol.
     

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