1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    questions about pacing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesoro, Apr 3, 2012.

    I am in the middle of the revision of my current novel and couldn't figure out why it sounded so bad. It read badly, sentences felt choppy even though they shouldn't be, and it somehow lacked a little depth I guess. Then I sat down with a printed copy of my last three revised chapters (and a glass of wine) and alternated between reading a paragraph of my own ms and a published book in the same genre of a writer I like, just to try to understand how it was different and then it somehow hit me. It's probably not the sentences that are choppy, it's the fact that they keep the same pace all the way through the entire ms. It's chick-lit, so it's quite fast paced and easily read, but I want to know how I can vary the pace of the text in the best way, to make it flow more easily for the reader. I have a few ideas:
    *zooming in from time to time, take the time to notice minor details in the surroundings or in a character I guess would slow down the pace for a while
    *alternating sentence lenght (which is something I already try to do in my revision)
    That is what I could come up with, is this correct? Are there other ways too? Plus, every how often should i vary the pace?
    I would really appreciate your help, because this would make my story read a lot better and I think it would be the solution to the whole problem.
     
  2. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Without reading your writing its hard to say how you should pace your story.

    Don't let things happen to fast, even if you're writing an action scene. Sometimes I get lazy, or write things too fast and in one paragraph I cover too much information. I need to slow the scene down with more description/what the character is thinking/add more literary devices and stretch one paragraph into a page, or three quarters of a page.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    What kind of literary devices are you talking about?
     
  4. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    I'm having this same issue with my own story. Maybe try focussing more on the more important scenes, and expanding on them a little, while maybe condensing some of the bits that don't really matter as much?
     
  5. Floatbox
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    Ok, for some inspiration. http://www.robmacdougall.org/blog/2010/09/this-sentence-has-five-words/

    Rhythm is hard. It is hard the way music is hard. It is hard in that there is no quick fix, that you must practice, that it is a thing you develop all your writing life. Yes, you must vary the length of your sentences, but let me impress upon you the nuance of rhythm.

    Immediately, rhythm is pure aesthetic; it is how a sentence begs to be read. Like dancing, you can only feel it out and cannot think about it too much. The looser you are the better, and it helps if you know the passion, the perceived significance, in what you are saying. Sort of like dancing to your favorite song. So it is necessary to take joy in what you write and it is necessary to believe in your own beauty, too. Yes, it is much like dancing. Or singing. Maybe singing is the better metaphor. Many use the term 'voice' and it is true, that many write the way they talk, using the natural conversational rhythms their minds know so instinctively.

    But also know, rhythm has utility as well! For example, you can point to a single, pivotal, important point. You can imbue your writing with subtext, like how an actor imbues his lines with emotion, a comic humor, or a speaker gravity.

    Rhythm really is powerful.

    Ok, this is getting pretentious! Hah, it's hard to write about this stuff without being so self-conscious. Forgive me. Luckily, this forum has nothing like downvotes. But, back to rhythm, the best way to develop rhythm is to be more aware of it in general. Notice rhythm in books, speech patterns irl, online conversations, in your own words. Appreciate it, as you would music. Don't copy. Or if you do, try it out just to see how it feels, like how a teenager adopts a persona. Also, you will be better at it some days than others, just like everything else. Also, this is why grammar is so damned important -- it is that breaks you're rhythm for you.

    Have fun and good luck!
     
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  6. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    The pace can be fast, slow or even change. What you don't what to do is have it stop and start because the story gets side tracked, the sentence structure causes the reader to stumble as he reads or the reader has to reread something because they didn't understand it the first time. A fast, slow or changing pace works as long as the content remains interesting.
     

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