Pacing is a lot like the throttle on a vehicle. There are times when driving that you need to move slowly, like through a city or in a school zone. Then there are times when you need to move a lot faster, like on the freeway. And there are times when you need to just coast along at a moderate speed. The pacing in your novel is a writer’s tool to help you manage the speed and rhythm of your story. Sometimes you want fast action, just as other times, you need to slow things down and let the scene unfold. It’s up to you to know when to use pacing. A lot of your pacing decisions will be based on your genre. If you’re writing an action story, it’s pretty fast-paced with exhilarating moments of danger mixed with adventure juxtaposed with quieter moments when your characters do some heavy thinking. If you’re writing an epic that spans over generations, it might move more slowly.
Pacing your story is like using the throttle to give an engine more gas. With more throttle, the engine revs up and speed increases. Less throttle slows you down so you can see the passing scenery. Controlling the pacing of your story is like maneuvering through city streets, main thoroughfares, and high-speed highways. You need different speeds to maintain control of your vehicle in each situation.