Skip to main content

Pacing... and why it can make or break your story

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
Welcome to Week P of Authors Tips' A to Z of Writing. 

If this is the first time you are visiting this Series, here's a quick recap.

Authors share their tips on writing fiction and each week we talk about various aspects of writing. This week, it's time to take a closer look at Pacing.

It's often easy to mistake 'pacing' with the genre of your story or its characters. One would assume that a thriller where the protagonist is racing against time to save the world needs to be fast-paced whereas a story that deals with the easy going life of a gentle old lady who lives a quiet life in the hills would obviously be more slower paced. Fact is, that the ebb and flow of a story has little to do with the genre or characters and more to do with the pace of the narrative or its momentum.

Sure, a thriller will need to have a more 'hurried' pace than one in which an old lady is reminiscing about her life. But even in a thriller you need to give the reader some pause for reflection. To vary the pace so that she is not overwhelmed by all the frenetic action. Similarly, in the second type of story, you will need appropriate action placed at the right moments so that the reader doesn't abandon your book altogether!

Much like the tides, a good story ebbs and flows. So what determines pacing? The combination of description and dialogues and how you mix it up is critical to pacing. Here are some points to keep in mind.

Quicken the pace by having shorter descriptive paragraphs. Punchy dialogue with a few lines of description is great for writing scenes with tension or action.

Slow down the pace by providing description of the surroundings or even some elements of backstory or getting into the head of the character. You need a combination of both because in life and in fiction there is tension followed by calm. 

Backstory should always be given in small chunks or else it will look like information dump. Worse, it will stop your plot from moving forward. 

Balance is critical to your story. Make sure that your chapters have the right mix of fast and slow paced scenes. That will ensure that your readers stay engaged with your story.

Happy Writing and do share your thoughts about Pacing in the comment box below.

Don't forget to check out the other P posts in the series.

P for Prologue by Devika Fernando

P for Process, Productivity, Plotting by Saiswaroopa Iyer

P for Procrastination by Preethi Venugopala 

P for Proof-reading by Sudesna Ghosh 

P for Point of View by Reet Singh








Comments

  1. Great tips - thanks for this. I am inspired to get back to my WIP. Must 'pace' myself so that I write a bit everyday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it, Reet! As writers we need to pace ourselves too! :D

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Basu Chatterji's "Balcony Class" Films

Basu Chatterji's Rajnigandha was like a breath of fresh air in the 1970s film universe of Bombay. At a time when the Angry Young Man was beginning to dominate celluloid screens, Amol Palekar was as un-hero-like as you could get. He was the Common Man who traveled in buses, did not have hero-like mannerisms and did not breathe fire and brimstone at his opponents. Basu Chatterji's Middle of the Road Cinema burst on to the scene and surprised the movie-going audience with its everyday situations and storylines that had an undercurrent of humour. Chatterji catered to an audience that he liked to call the "Balcony Class".  Anirudha Bhattacharjee, author of Basu Chatterji and Middle-of-the-Road Cinema writes an entertaining and heartwarming account of the life and work of Basu Chatterji, one of the most under-rated directors of Indian cinema. Recall of Chatterji's brand of feel-good, slice-of-life movies is perhaps highest for his Rajnigandha, Chotisi Baat, Baaton Baa

'Pure Evil' has been my biggest and most complex project - Author Balaji Vittal

Love them or hate them, you simply can't ignore them. That cliche is perhaps most apt when it comes to the bad men of Bollywood. In fact, some of the most memorable lines of dialogue have been mouthed not by the heroes but by the villains of Hindi cinema. So it is only fitting that these shining stars of the dark world (after all, antagonists are the protagonists of their own stories!) deserve to be spotlighted. Balaji Vittal , the author of Pure Evil: the Bad Men of Bollywood undertakes this onerous task of highlighting the world of these evil characters and how they have come to occupy a special place in the hearts and minds of movie goers.  I spoke to Mr. Balaji Vittal, a National Award winning and MAMI Award winning author of Bollywood books, a columnist for News18, Outlook India, The New Indian Express , a Bollywood commentator and a public speaker, about his journey of venturing into the world of Pure Evil .   Here are some excerpts:   Your book "Pure Evil: the Bad Men

Facing my fear - one Pitch at a time

Pitching makes me freeze up. In fact, the very thought of it makes me wanna run away.  For a screenwriter that's simply bad news. Because no matter what, if you want to get your stories out of your computer and hit the big screens, then you need to get comfortable with selling your story to potential producers and studios. And the first step in that journey is pitching.  My fear of pitching has prodded me to find different ways of overcoming the hurdle. So, for a few years I tried to work with agents in the hope that they would read my book and be able to handle the job of pitching. But soon I realized that agents were not into reading. So, I was just another name in their long list of clients. How that helps them grow their business is a different story, and one that I will perhaps share at a later point when I get around to solving that mystery! But the turning point (life does imitate screenplays!) came when I was called to pitch my book to a prominent OTT channel. This was an o