April 7th, 2017


Writing Excuses 12.14: Controlling Pacing With Structure

Writing Excuses 12.14: Controlling Pacing With Structure

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2017/04/03/12-14-controlling-pacing-with-structure/

Key Points: Pacing can be having more stuff happen, fulfilling promises more quickly. But it can also be structural, the form of the sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. Punctuation and paragraphing. Shape. Things. Comma, 1, period, 2, paragraph, 3. Pause. Lots of short sentences, faster breathing. No punctuation just running away -- a different kind of excitement. But sometimes, a long sentence will read faster than a bunch of short ones. Length of sentence. Paragraphing. Be careful of overuse, but a one sentence paragraph can drive a point home. Pacing reflects the character's experience. Watch the transitions between dialogue and narrative, which have their own pacing. Dialogue often embodies conflict. Beware overusing character beats -- trust the dialogue to be the focus. Sometimes what you don't say is more important than the dialogue. Let the readers fill in. Often we start a dialogue section with a quick zoom in, a little specific detail that tunes us in.
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[Brandon] We are out of time for this podcast. Turned out to be super interesting. I'm going to give you some homework. I want you to take a piece of your writing, and I want you to revise it without changing a word. I want you to change the punctuation in the paragraphing, only. I want you to try to go both ways. Make things shorter, make things longer. Play with it. See what it does to have a whole bunch of single sentence paragraphs. See what it does to mash it all together. See what happens if you split some of your sentences into fragments, and put the other fragments later on… Or not later on, but on the next paragraph. Things like that. See what it does. Play with this. Learn to master this tool. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.