1. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    Pacing issues

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Brandon P., May 11, 2011.

    Someone commented on my last piece of writing submitted in the Review Room that my pacing was too quick, and that struck a chord with me because I myself have wondered why my stories always end up being a lot shorter than I want them to be. I might aim for a novel and end up with something that doesn't even approach 10,000 words. I think my problem is that I'm worried that I'll be accused of infodumping if I add more description to my characters and settings. Does anyone else have this issue or an issue with pacing in general?
     
  2. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    You're probably writing in summary, then, not scenes. Summary you might get 1k words covering 3 or 4 events that written out in actual scenes would take up far more space, feel paced properly (if done well) and not rushed.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think that the solution is to have more description, and certainly not to have infodumps. Instead, I think that your events themselves need more detail.

    For example, in the village meeting in your recent story, a few people say a few things, and then there's a vote. The description of the meeting answers the question: What did the village vote?

    But it could be answering all sorts of other questions:

    - What are the village people like?
    - What are the factions?
    - Who are the friends and enemies of the girl and her mother?
    - Does the girl have a father figure to substitute for her father?
    - Does the mother have a romantic interest among the village men?
    - Is the village prepared to fight? Do they have weapons? Are they trained?
    - Is it usual for a woman to represent the village? Is this a matriarchal society?
    - Are they poor, prosperous, or in between?

    And so on and so on. I'm not suggesting that you _explain_ this stuff - that would indeed be an infodump. But the girl could have a conversation with a man who acts as a father figure, and the mother could interact with a possible romantic interest. Other relationships could be suggested as other characters speak and move and argue. The village warriors could discuss defensive plans. There could be food at the meeting, and the way that people interact with the food - eager, uninteresed due to worry, sharing, greedy - could give a clue as to the prosperity or poverty of the village.

    And you could add subplots, and add conflicts. For example, perhaps there's a village faction that doubts whether a woman can lead them in such turbulent times, and they force another vote. Perhaps the mother loses her office, or perhaps she forms a secret compromise with whoever's running against her. She could, of course, win easily, but a conflict that ends with the status quo seems more boring than one that ends with a change. And the girl can watch that deal-making and compromise, perhaps feeling contempt for it, but perhaps several chapters later she uses what she learned.

    And so on. :)

    ChickenFreak
     
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  4. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    I was wondering how exactly I could expand my chapter. I greatly appreciate the suggestions.
     

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