Pace and story structure: a blueprint for keeping the reader gripped

Don’t you love it when you find a book, and you can’t put it down? The story is so captivating you can’t turn the pages fast enough. Likewise, there are those books that drag. It isn’t necessarily boring – just slow; it seems it takes forever for anything to happen or change the directory of the story – it’s called pacing.

Roz Morris at Nail Your Novel gives one of the most concise explanations on pacing I’ve read to date. Check it out and thanks, Roz!

Nail Your Novel

seattle_bway_mambo_01I’ve had an interesting question from Josephine of the blog Muscat Tales:

Can you talk about pace? How to speed up/slow down the action/plot – and when? Is there a general blueprint for this or does the story type dictate the peaks and troughs of emotion, action and change?

There’s much to chew on here. And I think I can provide a few blueprints.

In order to answer, I’ll reorder the questions.

First, a definition. What’s pace? Put simply, it’s the speed at which the story seems to proceed in the reader’s mind. It’s the sense of whether enough is happening.
When to speed up or slow down?

This comes down to emphasis. You don’t want the pace of the story to flag. But equally, you don’t want to rip through the events at speed. Sometimes you want to take a scene slowly so the reader savours the full…

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