We like pace. Then modern world moves fast. Have you noticed how short scenes are these days on television especially in newer soap operas? Our attention span is getting shorter.
However, if the pace is fast all of the time, the readers can lose the thread of the action.
We need a balance of fast pace and slower pace.
Achieving fast pace
There are several ways of doing this:
· Short sentences
· Powerful action words
· High stakes (this of course also helps with tension)
· Short chapters
· Cliff-hangers at the end of chapters (another that also helps with tension)
Giving the reader a break from the pace
These actions help with that:
· Creating a film in the reader’s head
· Writing with the senses
· Keeping the pace to real time (when you read your text out loud it take the same time as the action in the text)
· Showing not telling
· Use of dialogue
Getting the balance right
This isn’t science or even craft. It’s an art. Here you must use your fine-tuned instinct. How do you develop that instinct? You do this by reading a lot of other books for your target reader, getting to know our target reader well – perhaps through readings and other interactions with them – and also be sharing your work with critique groups and beta readers.
Note of course that the balance will be different for different readers. Make sure you are clear about who your reader is.