Pacing is what moves your story forward quickly, then slows the action down so your readers can catch their breath and learn more about your character’s thoughts.
For example, if you’re writing a family saga spanning several generations, its pacing will be leisurely, except for the scenes in which intense action takes place. Short stories are usually active from the start to get the reader through to the end, and adventure novels keep up a pretty quick pace.
An effective way to track your novel’s pacing is to outline it. You can easily see where the action crests and lulls take place.
Since not everyone outlines, an easier, just as effective way to help you determine if your novel’s pacing hits the peaks and valleys evenly is the ProWritingAid Pacing Check.
Here’s what a section of writing looks like when you run the Summary Report in the online editor and scroll down to the Pacing section:
As you can see, this piece of writing has a single slow section that might warrant a second look. If this scene’s purpose is to increase tension or incite some action, you wouldn’t want a slow-paced section in the middle.
ProWritingAid’s Pacing Check is just that—a simple check. Its purpose is for you to consider your manuscript, blog post, or other work from your readers’ eyes. Do they need forward movement to keep them hooked? Or do they need to slow down to understand things better?
Let us know in the comments below whether you prefer to outline before writing, pace-check afterwards, or both!