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Questions tagged [pacing]

This tag should be used for questions about the way to pace the story in a literary work, such as a fantasy novel.

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16
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I introduce dark themes?

My story involves a superhuman organization that aims to overthrow the main government, through any means necessary. This involves murder and some rather gruesome deaths. Additionally, there might be ...
18
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5answers
2k views

Spicing up a moment of peace

In the ever swinging tone of a novel, one may wish to show a moment of peace amidst all the chaos. In my novel it happens a few times, most notably when characters are travelling across vast natural ...
8
votes
5answers
263 views

My scenes seem too fast

I’m having issues ‘cause while I’m in the process of writing I think my style has enough length to it, but when I go back and read my work it feels extremely fast. A scene I expected to take me ...
16
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9answers
5k views

Is it bad to suddenly introduce another element to your fantasy world a good ways into the story?

I'm writing a novel with many POVs, and this is a very flexible story. It started out with a few POVs who had one plot, and now there is a lot more, having been integrated in between those previously ...
11
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4answers
395 views

How can I write a panicked scene without it feeling like it was written in haste?

I normally try to place myself in my character's shoes and I think to myself, "how would I react if I were in this situation?" Well one of my beta-readers commented on my work, and he said the chapter ...
22
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10answers
4k views

…and then she held the gun

In the short passage I am writing, the starting point is that one character is being held at gunpoint, and the end point is that she now holds the gun, having disarmed the opponent. The idea is that ...
4
votes
2answers
177 views

How do I prevent my stories from feeling rushed?

Many of the short stories that I write feel too short. Now, I know that there's nothing wrong with a (very) short story, but often I feel like I'm rushing the story because I have an idea for the ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

The three acts and their relative length

Let's take for granted that the 3 acts structure is relevant and exists. This, of course, is an assumption. How the three acts relate with the length of the novel? In a standard book - let's say 50k ...
5
votes
1answer
84 views

Turning away from the 3-act structure - what guides my pacing now?

Not all stories follow a 3-act structure. As an example, Les Misérables is rather episodic in its nature: first there's the story of Bishop Myriel and how he meets Jean Valjean, then there's Fantine's ...
25
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8answers
3k views

How much character growth crosses the line into breaking the character

(not a duplicate of Character Development - How much is too much? because that one is more about "overreaction" to smaller events.) TL;DR: How much can a character change without becoming ...
6
votes
5answers
199 views

Is there a balance between a page-turning read and an exhausting 'too much' reading experience?

I have learned over the past fifteen months of writing fiction that every scene needs to have tension and advance the plot. This is good. But, I find that as I read my novel (again and again) to ...
13
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9answers
4k views

Is my story pacing too fast?

I have a quick question- I'm just a bit confused about the story I'm writing. So earlier today I posted the first chapter of my story, and someone commented that the story "escalated too fast for me ...
4
votes
3answers
142 views

Does a page-turner have to be continually high-octane?

I've experimented with both critique partners and people I know (be they friends, family or colleagues) as unrewarded beta readers. The latter are very slow, sometimes reading slower than I wrote a ...
41
votes
12answers
8k views

How long can a fantasy novel stay in metaphorical Kansas?

I am writing a novel with the basic Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland or the Matrix if you want structure. The novel begins in perfect modern day, and at some point in a very sharp way takes a turn ...
8
votes
4answers
671 views

Cutting down story length without leaving out locations

I'd like to write a story and I have plenty of elements for it, up to and including a set of locations, characters and events, as well as some loose sequence for those. This is still a planning phase,...
11
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4answers
402 views

How do you deal with Chapter 2 when Chapter 1 is a volcano opening?

I know the logic behind volcano openings and why they’re problematic (they set the expectation that that level of action and excitement will continue; they’re a hard act to follow; they make a promise ...
8
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7answers
1k views

How to know if the story is going too fast?

I have a question, part subjective, part common sense I think... The conjunction of experience of some writers can be helpful for me. How you know if the story is balanced? ...I mean,how you know it'...
1
vote
1answer
124 views

How do I write that years have passed in my story? [duplicate]

How do I write that years have passed in a short story, but without stating it? I have been trying all sorts of techniques, but it's just not sounding right in my story. I really don't know what to do....
4
votes
1answer
94 views

Books or resources on writing fluidly?

I have ADHD, and while I write often very good essays, some of which are published, I seem to struggle to stay on one thought. When I'm writing an argumentative essay, for example, I get so excited at ...
34
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8answers
9k views

How to show a character being bored for multiple chapters without boring the reader

When my protagonist is learning to use their magical skill, they must remain in hiding. Because they have not yet mastered their magical skill. My protagonist is bored from being holed up for so ...
6
votes
2answers
325 views

Guidance on pacing the introduction of new characters

I'm adding a qualifying question to the end of this question. So I have (let's say) two types of feedback in my beta critiques and real-life writing clubs. One is that I have floating heads syndrome,...
4
votes
5answers
369 views

Descriptive words to slow down the pace of the story?

Is it true that to slow down a story, you add descriptive words in place of an action? I feel like the pace my story is going at, I'll finish it in less than 200 pages. It just doesn't feel right to ...
14
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6answers
6k views

My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

I see a pattern among my readers, specifically where they tend to stop reading - it is about 2/3 through the story, during "Act 2." A few readers push through to the end and say they are glad they did....
8
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5answers
5k views

How to slow down the pace of the story?

How do I slow down the pace of my story? And please refrain from answering with "add more descriptions," because I'm already aware of that technique :). I'd like to see if there are even more ways to ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

A Question of Pacing - Trilogy or Quadrilogy - Cluttered Story

So I recently had a discussion with a reader and who pointed out a significant flaw in my work that I hadn't seen. When I first started writing my series, I had a trilogy in mind - based on exploring ...
8
votes
8answers
1k views

When do I successfully kill off an important secondary main character… in a series of five books?

TL;DR: How much time and development is necessary for a character I intend to kill off and replace with a second character so that both feel important to the narrative? I've looked over this a bit, ...
5
votes
4answers
299 views

Do you need to have your major plot point established in the first few chapters?

Background I've now reached 10,000 words on the second book in my trilogy. Wow, goals. I have just got to the first major plot point which basically spells out the relationship between two characters ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

Splicing/Mixing Scenes

Remember the end of the Godfather, where they spliced all the different assassinations with the christening? Or any film with good cutting, where they swap between different characters and what they'...
1
vote
1answer
146 views

How do I portray a particular moment as climactic?

It's a first person novel, and the main character has just overcome some emotional and mental barriers in order to unlock his telekinetic potential, under the training of his mentor. “Do it, ...
2
votes
4answers
415 views

Length of segments in rotating POV

When rotating POV between multiple characters, how long should a segment in one POV be? I'm writing ensemble 3rd person and tend to like to let the story dictate its own pace. However, I'm concerned ...
1
vote
3answers
187 views

Length of a scene?

Really, just how long should a solid scene in a chapter be? And what about when characters move setting but the topic is still relevant to the scene? How long would that be? Currently my scenes in ...
8
votes
3answers
271 views

How do I show a long amount of time has passed?

How do I write the passing of a few years in a story? I have two separate character timelines and I want to show the characters aging throughout the story. Should I divide it up into parts? You can ...
2
votes
5answers
434 views

How can I improve my writing's pacing and sophistication?

How can I improve my creative writing skills? I have many ideas for short stories but I feel as if my writing is very slow paced and not sophisticated enough. How can I integrate literary techniques ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

How does the placement of transition sentences affects the meaning/tone of a piece?

Example: Finally, I began questioning the kid. What was her name? Where were her parents? And most important, what was she doing outside in this horrible weather? She replied to none of that. ...
1
vote
2answers
134 views

What should take precedence? Rhythm or clarity?

We resumed our way, until we finally exited the woods and reached a valley. Two ridges stood on both sides, meeting together on the far horizon. In the middle was a river, its quiet surface ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

Problem: Scenes that are unavoidable, but boring

More specifically: Two of my book series' main characters are (temporarily) diplomats. It's unavoidable to the progress of the plot. But diplomacy is inherently slow and boring. So, the general ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Does this qualify as a prelude or prologue?

In the story I'm writing i have a 2k word chapter that will either be attached to my fourth chapter or be a prelude. (prologue? I'm not really sure what the difference is or if there is one.) My issue ...
1
vote
3answers
957 views

Cutting down on paragraph size

As a novice writer of fourteen, I've tried a few attempts at science fiction (military science fiction, to be specific), and of course my writing's got HUGE mistakes and shortcomings. But the most ...
5
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3answers
4k views

How do you estimate the length of your screenplay in screentime?

The title says it all. I'm talking about a feature-length film here, although I'm sure the techniques are universal.
12
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2answers
7k views

What are common attributes of the Steampunk genre?

These attributes could be character archetypes or traits, attributes of the setting, characteristics of plot or pacing, and broader themes. Essentially, I'd like to build a definition of the genre by ...
8
votes
4answers
312 views

Critique: Intro/Prologue to my Novel-in-Progress

all. Please forgive me, for I'm afraid I'm a novice when it comes to writing fiction. I wanted to get the community's thoughts and recommendations for improving the below passage. I realize it ...
1
vote
1answer
180 views

The Prophet: Part 1, Awakening .. Question about being “Too condensed”

As per Jeff's answer here on meta, I'm posting a Critique Question. Let me know if I'm not following the process correctly. My story for critique is found here (pdf, or you could go to my story page)....