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Sharon Johnson Mayhew - Signed Rack Card
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Southpaw - Critique
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BN100 - Signed Print Book
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Pacing builds emotion in the reader. How? It creates the mood. Everything from anticipation and fear to grief and hope. It's a very important tool in the writer's repertoire. So how do you control it? Here are a few tips.
- Skip the status quo.
- Ask yourself if the scene is moving the plot forward. If the answer is no, it better at least be building character, but ideally it will be doing both. If you've written the funniest scene in the history of the universe about your character brushing his teeth, you should consider cutting it or changing it to move the plot forward.
- Trust the reader to fill in the blanks. You don't have to take us for the car ride when the character goes to visit his long lost mother. We can use our imaginations to get there.
- Slow it down.
- But ONLY when it counts. If it's a pivotal scene, take your time with it. Immerse us in sensory details. Give us some internal dialogue and character reaction.
- Is the killer about to attack? Build tension by putting the reader on the edge of his seat as each step echoes, each stair creaks, each shadow moves...
- About to have the first kiss? Don't just go for it. Tease us!
- Speed it up.
- Punctuate the right scenes by making sure all isn't equal. You are basically highlighting the important parts in the reader's subconscious by controlling how much attention they pay and how deeply they are immersed in the scene.
What do you think? Other pacing tips you have to share?