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How To Combat A Sudden Change Of Pace
A Turcotte
Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2011 8:16 PM
Joined: 5/4/2011
Posts: 2

I've just started my second draft, which for me, is the fun part. It's going quite well. I'm 15 ms pages in. The conflict has been established, the characters have all been introduced, and the pacing of the story is where I feel it should be. But having established all that quite well puts me in a bind, because now, I've reached the point in the story where I can breath a little bit, and add some introspection and depth to the story and characters. But I need to be able to do that without slowing the whole thing down to a crawl. I have two fairly slow scenes back to back. Both are necessary, but I worry that stringing them together will radically slow down my novel, which has been moving at a pretty rapid pace til now. I don't want to just add a scene to fill space,  but I can't help the feeling that *something* should be there to perk it back up again.

How do I speed up a less action-oriented scene?
Jay Greenstein
Posted: Monday, August 1, 2011 4:17 AM
Try this article. It has some good information on organizing scenes so as to avoid that problem.


And for what it's worth, I wrote an article showing how you can learn plotting from Batman. Don't laugh, because you can.

Karrie Zai
Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2011 8:09 PM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 13

Jay, when I taught plot in my internship last year, I used an episode of Batman for one of the lessons

I have to say I struggle with that myself. After opening my novel with back-to-back things happening, I had a couple chapters that consisted mainly of dialogue between the two MCs. I was worried it would murder the pacing, but I've received generally positive comments on the pacing of the chapters so far. Try writing it and seeing how it feels once it's done, then correcting from there?
Posted: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 4:09 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245

Turcotte (sorry, but it's more recognizable as a direct reply than just "A"), my question to you on this is this:

Do the scenes A) move the plot forward, B) develop/illuminate character, or C) both?

Ideally, scenes do both. But they can be impactful even if they only do A or B.

To add to what's been suggested (learning from Batman), I'm going to ask you a question. How do you learn? Are you visual, auditory, a mix, some other type of learner that I don't know about?

Figure that out and you'll figure out the best method for studying pacing and plot. If you're a visual learner, I'm going to make a suggestion. Rent a season of a TV show on DVD from your local library. (Not going to assume anything on finances here.) Watch all the episodes as back to back as you can. (I watched an entire season in two days and it prompted a blog post on this very thing, only for characterization not plotting/pacing, but it's applicable.)

A season of a TV show (especially if it's one like SyFy's Haven or ABC's Lost) is like a book in a series. You get a story that unfolds over the course of a season (or a book), each episode in that season is like the chapters in a book, with their own rise and fall of action and character development. If you're looking for examples of how to deal with a slow-down to go address the internal arc or to pick the pace back up, I'd definitely suggest a show with an overarching mystery that's a backdrop to the individual episodes.

Again this is all if you're a visual learner. Since I sort of am, I'm just giving you the advice that works for me, shovelful of salt included.

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