This week: How Fast They Act - Speed and Pacing Edited by: Dawn Embers
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|Action/Adventure Newsletter by Dawn
A newsletter to ramble about pacing and whether to go fast or sleep. Even some mentions on sentence length to bring up the technical side.
|One of the best parts about the genres that include action and/or adventures is that the stories move. It's not slow reading, causing the readers to question as to whether anything was going to happen or not. Stuff happens. It can happen fast. Then again, there is also the possibility of things happening too fast. Which is where pacing comes into play. If you don't consider how to pace a story, things can go the wrong direction fast. Well, it can go the same direction but there cause a reader to stumble, get bored to the point they stop reading, or it could be over in a flash and leave the reader wondering what they just read. None of those are ideal. So, let's consider speed and facing.
I will be honest. I read a story recently where things went too fast. It was categorized as romance but there was some action going on in the tale. Some running from things happened and there was a fight. Problem came in the climax with the fight and security called, which should have been good, but then it was over. All of a sudden, they were away from the drama, all was good and it was happy family time. No showing or telling what happened to resolve things. It was just drama, then "don't worry about it because they were okay" type of ending. The speed in which things got told didn't work.
For action, it is important to consider the pacing. Too much going on, too fast, will push readers away. The story length does play a factor into how you pace the story and make things happen, too. How you plan a flash fiction story is going to be very different than that of a novel. A series will require some consideration that is far different than a single book. It's a matter of finding the right fit in the right moment. Take into thought before writing the parameters of what you plan to ensure you can fit in what you want without cramming things in tight or needed to cut out details that may have helped ease the situation along at a better speed.
Action at random may grab attention, but then there is going to be a question. Why? If too many times, a reader doesn't understand a reason for something happens or a problem gets brought up but never resolved, there is a risk of a negative influence. Readers aren't very fond of the unanswered question that gets brought up by a story. Resolution is considered an important detail that most expect.
While we don't want to do anything too fast, there is also a time limit or time frame considering we don't have a bazillion pages to tell a tale. Maybe in an epic fantasy but even there, limits exist. Whether it's introducing characters, showcasing a really awesome sword fight or reaching the peak of disaster where everything goes wrong, you should consider the speed in which things are written within the context of the allowed story length.
Another thing that influences the speed of a story, in the way the reader goes through a piece of writing, is that of sentence and paragraph lengths. If you have very short, sentences and many of the paragraphs are even just a few lines at the most, that will be a fast read. It will go quick, which can be good because they keep reading. However, it is possible to also go too fast. The reader might not catch things or feel as invested if they slide down the screen to the end in seconds. On the other hand, it is very plausible if you go super long with everything that a reader will just stop. This is partly why there is a recommendation to have a variety when it comes sentence/paragraph length. You don't want all short or all long, but a mixture of them. Mix things up and it's easier on the eyes for reading on a computer too. Plus, you can use the speed to your advantage. If you have a particular section that benefits from a little speed, keep things short, both sentences and paragraphs, and that will influence the reading.
Overall, the speed of a story is going to have a particular importance when we're talking about action and adventure. We want to enjoy the tales, not go too fast but in some ways, get pulled along for the ride. How you manage the speed with your writing is up to you. Pace yourself, in a writing way, and see what you will create. Have fun writing quick or slow, still make sure to write.
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|What tricks do you use to find the right pacing for a story?
Random writing prompt:
Write any type of fight scene, but do two versions of it. In one version, make everything staccato with short sentences, short paragraphs and things go fast with a quick resolution. In the second version, slow things down and put more words into the piece. How do they feel? How do they read? Let's see.
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