Writing Mini-Lessons: Manipulate Pacing

Pacing is critical to good writing because pacing is used to control the speed of the plot.  Pacing is manipulating time. The writer sometimes slows the pace by putting more detail in, but sometimes also hurries over details, leaving out the uninteresting parts that aren’t central to the piece’s So what?  Pacing deals with the flow of the story itself and how its various events are set up: it is the rhythm of your piece, its internal heartbeat.

There is no set formula for pacing.  To a certain extent, pacing is a matter of personal preference for the writer and the reader.  The more you read and the more you write, the more intuitive pacing will become and the more you will find your own narrative rhythm.

Below are some basic guidelines to use to check your piece’s pacing to identify potential problems:

Manipulate pacing as you draft and revise to help you clarify the point of your piece for yourself and for the reader.  Experiment with pacing until you have the right rhythm for your narrative: a pacing that focuses the reader’s attention on the So what? of your piece without forcing the reader to slog through mucky mires of detail that are not central to your main message.