10 Ways to Kill Pacing

Jody Lebel
Published on: July 2012
There are hundreds of reasons readers close books, and only one reason they open them up again; they just have to find out what's going to happen next. That is good pacing. Here are ten ways to get that book closed for good.
10 ways to kill pacing,make it interesting
1) Uninteresting characters. Don't create a character no one cares about. The reader must feel connected to them, feel compassion for them. Never underestimate reader empathy. If a reader doesn't care about your hero it won't matter how much action/trouble/romance you throw in your story the reader won't bother to finish it.

2) Too many or too few subplots. Good pacing is not relentless danger scenes, going from one potential harm/death scene to the next potential harm/death scene. This exhausts the reader and, quite frankly, gets boring. You need a solid plot to hold the story together and a subplot or two to keep the twists coming.

3) Too much description. Focus on the matter at hand. Don't get sidetracked in details that don't move the story forward, or let yourself get muddled in lengthy back story.

4) Dull scenes. Great scenes will be remembered long after the book is placed back on the shelf. Scenes are units of action that create a memorable impression on the reader. Think about the movie Titanic. What scene comes to mind? The couple on the bow of the ship. What about ET? When Drew Barrymore touches ET's finger. Author Mary Buckham believes scenes are to good pacing what herbs are to cooking.

5) Sagging middle. The middle of the book is no time, to let up the tension, ease back on the action, or slow the romantic pace of your characters. This is the time for another dead body, his former wife to show up, or to have a car crash.

6) Secondary characters that don't go anywhere. Each character in your story must have his/her own journey and purpose. Sometimes they help the protagonist and sometimes they complicate the goal. Don't write in a little old lady who works at the bakery because she reminds you of your grandma but has no meaning to the overall story.

7) A poor ending. Wrapping up your plot line, solving all your subplots issues, and giving the couple a happy-ever-after isn't enough. Not if you want readers looking for your next book. Leave your story on a hook. Be sure the reader is emotionally and intellectually satisfied with the current story, but leave some questions raised for the next book. Think about Janet Eva-novich's character Stephanie Plum. On the last page of Seven Up Ranger shows up at Steph-anie's door, a sexual tension scene that left readers crazed to know if she was going to let him stay.
8) Information dumps. Lots of paragraphs, page after page, telling background, giving descrip-tions of the locale, talking about the weather, the party the mayor had last year, blah-blah-blah. Don't do it.

9) Same voice. Repeating the same thing over and over again. Or using the same writing style or sentence style throughout. He said this. He did that. He went there. Mix it up.Deepen it.

10) Solving the problem/mystery too soon or too late. Wrap up your conflicts too soon and you might as well end your book in the middle. Where are you going to go now? Also never introduce a character in the last few chapters who will turn out to be the killer. The reader will feel cheated and rightly so.
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