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Writing Excuses #10: Pacing (unauthorized summary)

Writing Excuses #10: Pacing

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/

Pacing: How do we keep the tension up, keep it snappy?
  1. Snappy dialogue: I cram all the words into four panels every day. I don't have room for a lot of dialogue.
  2. How do you keep the story snappy? In late, out early.
  3. Jump straight to the conflict.
  4. Conflict. Cram as much in as possible. Just keep it crammed full. When building characters, give them multiple conflicts.
  5. Figuring out what each scene's job is. What is supposed to happen in this scene, and make sure it does. Not enough to tell us that it is the next day - jump to the next conflict or important piece of information.
  6. Prewrite: sit down and make sure you know what is the purpose, the point, the main conflict of the scene.
  7. Don't just stick it in because you thought it would be cool. Make sure that things have a point.
  8. Sometimes a scene doesn't have to be intense or exciting. Some scenes explain character or setting.
  9. Even then, you need tension.
  10. But even in a thriller, you need to give the reader some breathing room.
Some plot frameworks:
  1. Time bombs: set time limits.
  2. Readers want to see progress
  3. Travelogue: series of places - know where you are going!
  4. Countdown: a series of tasks to accomplish. You can add new tasks, but beware of having the characters repeat a task that's already been done.
How do you keep the small issues from overwhelming your larger plot? How do you stay on task, but still put tension in the scene?
  1. In late, out early. When you reach a point where you say "What else do I need to say here?" stop.
  2. make sure you know where you are going. Each scene has a point - that serves the plot.
Last words:
  1. Keep it interesting, fast, but let us breathe once in a while.
  2. Cram as much in as possible. When you are planning a scene, don't just go in with one objective. Go in with the main objective, but also do smaller objectives.
  3. Pacing is all about preparation.

And that's a wrap, jam-packed with good stuff! Soon to be followed by #11: The Business of Writing.
Tags: writing excuses
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