April 17th, 2013

BrainUnderRepair

Writing Excuses 8.15: Narrative Rhythm

Writing Excuses 8.15: Narrative Rhythm

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2013/04/14/writing-excuses-8-15-narrative-rhythm/

Key points: narrative rhythm and pacing are all about raising the tension and slowdowns or breaks. Short stories and thrillers may not have breaks at all, while other stories let the reader breath. Different books need different pacing. Moments of dialogue or other beats can provide the contrast to make the highs really stand out. Sneaky trick: put the rests at the front of the chapter, not the last. Use cliffhangers and hooks to keep readers going across the chapter breaks. Don't do cat scares, do honest changes in understanding. Look at the balance of rising action and falling action in your story. You probably want more rising action! Rising action raises the tension, but is not necessarily a fight or physical action. A brief fall before the climax can increase the punch of the climax. Tag your scenes with emotions, and make sure you have a good mix. Pace and narrative rhythm are very much matters of personal taste, some people feel like a racer, some don't. Mixing up the kinds of tension can also add a change of pace.
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[Brandon] All right. Let's go ahead and do our book of the week.
[Howard] You mean writing prompt?
[Brandon] Writing prompt.
[Mary] Twice in a row. I think it might be time for us to take a... Talk about falling action.
[Howard] [whistle]
[Mary] So. Writing prompt. So for your writing prompt, what I want you to do is take a classic fairytale and write it once so that it's all rising action, and once where you insert two pieces of falling action.
[Brandon] Okay.
[Mary] That's very clinical.
[Howard] That is very clinical.
[Dan] It's okay.
[Howard] Good practice for you, fair listener.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. If you write that, someday it might be our book of the week.
[Mary] Aha!
[Brandon] Ha ha, that's what I meant. You're out of excuses. So am I. Go write.
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