Pacing refers to the speed at which a story is told and how quickly the reader is moved through events. If you have too many slower paced paragraphs in a row, your writing may be boring. Good writing contains faster-paced sections, such as dialogue and character action, as well as slower-paced sections, such as introspection and backstory.

Think about it: if you have a book made up entirely of action-oriented battle scenes, your readers won't learn much about your characters and their thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, if you've devoted an entire chapter to deeply examining your main character's internal motivations, your reader will lose interest.

If you have multiple slower-paced sections in a row, break them up with some shorter, more engaging scenes.

Evaluate Your Pacing: Consider the Purpose

Each scene of your writing will have a different purpose, which can mean different pacing.

Most stories have peaks and valleys of action and breathers. At different points throughout your document, you'll want to ratchet up the tension with lots of action and then give your reader a moment to calm their racing heart in a slower section.

It’s up to you as the author to understand how the pacing in your novel moves your readers forward or keeps them immersed in a scene longer. You decide how the scene should play out. Consider how pacing differs depending on what your story needs at the moment.

By visualizing and understanding your document's pacing, you can decide whether or not it is effective for a specific section.

Common Questions about Pacing

How does slow pacing affect my novel?