And Then What? or, Pacing

(Post-A-Day Challenge, Day 16)

(Gah!  Somehow this got saved as a draft last night instead of getting posted.  It should count anyway, right?)

Found myself indisposed with an unhappy tummy today, so I took the opportunity to read through one of my works in progress from cover to cover, as it were.

This one has been largely unedited, but I’ve mentally picked out several scenes that need to be eliminated altogether, and one that needs substantial trimming.  So this time, on my read-through, I skipped those scenes, and found the pacing to be much improved.  Not surprising, really, when you think about it; one of the reasons unneeded scenes should be edited out is because they slow down the pacing too much.

What surprised me, though, was to find that with just those few exceptions–and maybe one other scene near the end that could be trimmed back by half–the pacing in the piece is pretty good.  Interesting things happen, and the characters don’t quite have a chance to completely recover from one before the next thing hits.  There isn’t really any downtime.

Which is something that’s hard to tell unless you can just sit down and read the whole story in one sitting, but if you can do that, I recommend it.  Start with Chapter One and keep reading until you reach The End.  Take note of any places where you find yourself skimming, or where your attention starts to wander.  Chances are good that these are passages that either need to be tightened up or eliminated.

What are some other ways people use to identify trouble spots in pacing?

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About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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