August 26th, 2015

BrainUnderRepair

Writing Excuses 10.34: Q&A on Pacing

Writing Excuses 10.34: Q&A on Pacing

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/08/23/writing-excuses-10-44-qa-on-pacing/

Q&A Summary:
Q: What are early signs of pacing problems?
A: When you can't name anything that your character has accomplished towards a goal. When you are bored writing. If you, as writer, are frustrated that nothing is happening. This will be cool when I get to X -- make every scene somebody's favorite. What am I going to achieve in this scene that will make the reader feel an emotion? Why is this scene memorable? Ask a beta reader.
Q: How do you chart pacing so it happens evenly with growing tension up to climax and resolution?
A: Good question. Know how the book, and the reveals or payoffs, will end, so you know how you are going to get there. Write down your setups so you can make them coincide at the right time. Note: don't do Brandon Avalanches OR try to make everything too even. Provide a progression, and spread out your climaxes. Do Grand Prix plotting.
Q: You said before it's not always scene-sequel, scene-sequel. I just want to clarify. For faster pacing, we up the scenes and lessen the sequel, right? And the opposite for slower pacing?
A: Generally, yes.
Q: How do you handle the progression of a character over the series of a few months as they travel without the story feeling choppy?
A: Signposting, signal a jumpcut before it happens. Do include some interesting stuff that is not purely plot related! If you set up an urgent item, a ticking clock, don't jump ahead. Do signpost skipping boring stuff here...
Q: It feels like debut authors are expected to start their novel at a breakneck pace. At what point is it okay to slow down? Should the first book be 120 mph until the end?
A: Debut writers can't do what established writers do, because the readers don't trust them yet. New writers must establish quickly that "you want to read what I want to write." You don't have to have a breakneck pace, but you must remember the reader will give you less benefit of the doubt.
Q: Brent Weeks writes 300,000 word books that read like thrillers. How?
A: Short period of time, fast pacing, few sequels.
Collapse )
[Brandon] We are actually out of time. There were a lot of excellent questions on this. I'm sorry that we didn't get to all of them. But Howard is going to give you a writing exercise.
[Howard] We're doing plot twists next month. So let's pace you straight into plot twists, with an exercise that I like to call hard left. Take your pacing, take a scene that is moving forward at a breakneck pace. Imagine a person running or car driving fast straight ahead, and then throw a twist at them and don't break scene. Don't do the cliffhanger, don't do the page turn. Just take a hard left and roll with it. Force us to keep that pace up as we jink to the left, as we move in a new direction.
[Brandon] Take something you weren't expected to do and just run with it. Great. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
  • Current Mood
    sneezy