There is little worse than reading a story with poor pacing. Whether it’s too slow and dull, or everything happens in a blur, you’ll find a lack of enjoyment. The key is getting the pacing just right, building tension, revealing information, holding back secrets, and ensuring suspense while maintaining reader interest. With that in mind, here are some essential tips for pacing your novel.
Start with the action Slow starts will get you nowhere. It can be tempting to open with world building, character descriptions, and thorough backgrounds, but these details won’t capture readers’ attention. Don’t get me wrong; you need to know these things. But you should start with the action, rather than the lead up to it. That way you pull the reader in at once.
Writing, re-drafting, and editing. It’s a long cycle, but all steps involved in turning your initial idea into a fully finished story. It’s always a great feeling, finishing the first draft, and cause to celebrate. But when it comes to subsequent drafts, we tend to just move on to the next step. But really, we should celebrate finishing every draft. Here’s why:
It proves your dedication Writing a book isn’t easy. Completing a first draft is a huge moment, but to keep going, and re-work all you’ve written takes your dedication to another level. Editing takes a long time, as you have to read and assess your work, and the time you’ve put in should be celebrated.
Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, and it seems relevant to talk about writing fiction, and the positive way it can impact your mental health. I’m sure a lot of writers write as an outlet, so I thought it’d be appropriate to talk about 5 of the reasons writing fiction is good for you mental health.
Writing is cathartic There’s just something about the act of writing that’s cathartic. It’s relaxing, calming, and allows you to outpour your thoughts and feelings. This is true of journaling, poetry, stories….any writing. When you need a release, getting words down is immensely healing.
It enables you to explore and understand emotions Pent up emotions often lead to further stress and complications. It’s important to go through your emotions and do all you can to understand them. Writing gives you the space to do that. You can use emotions in your work, and through your characters explore them and their outcomes. Often, writing helps you understand how you’re feeling, and that can be vital.
Creating characters is one of the most exciting parts of novel writing. Getting to know your heroes, your villains, your story’s main players is a lot of fun. You’ll learn more about them as you write, at that exploration is the best way to understand them completely. But before you start writing, there are five things you need to know about them. Take a look:
Names Starting simply, it’s very helpful to have character names before you start. I can’t pretend I’ve not written ‘NAME HERE’ for minor characters in early drafts, but with your key players it’s easier to have the names early on. Baby name books/websites are great for this, as you have unlimited options and they tend to include origins and name meanings too.
Some writers are plotters. Others are pantsers. There’s no right way to do it. There are pros and cons to plotting, and it’s up to you to decide what works best. Personally, I’m a plotter. Typically, my plotting consists of a basic outline and little else. It worked for two novels. But on my third, I was struggling. I spent ages trying to figure out why my story wouldn’t work before it hit me. I’d not sussed out the timeline, not properly. And once I had, it changed everything. As such, I’m sharing 5 ways that a timeline helps you write your novel.
Figuring out backstory
Not all backstory needs to be written. I would even go as far as to say most backstory doesn’t need to be written. But as a writer, it’s helpful to know where things started for your characters. It’s important to know what happened before the events of the first chapter. This way, you know what to include and what to omit. It also enables you to add depth to your characters, as undoubtedly their past has shaped them.
Avoiding plot holes
A number of things can cause plot holes, and time is definitely one of them. If your characters and their story are to be believable, then time must move in the way it should. Even if your fictional world has it’s own concept of time, you should adhere to the rules you set for it. Savvy readers are likely to pick up on things that don’t flow naturally.
Of course, this tends to be everyone’s first option, and why not? It’s probably the quickest and easiest way. Google even has it’s ‘near me’ feature, so you can search for events, and it’ll use your location to bring up the ones closest to you. Alternatively, if you don’t have your location on show, you can just type in your town/city name to see what comes up.
M.L. Davis of Uninspired Writers provided us with a very helpful step-by-step method to write a synopsis. Thank you very much!
Morning writers, I hope you’ve had a lovely week.
A couple of weeks ago I started writing a synopsis based on the early draft of my second novel. Like many writers, I find synopsis writing tedious, difficult and frustrating. However, they are a necessary evil, published or unpublished.
The method I ended up using this time round actually made the process much easier, and I did it in steps. Please note this is by no means a tried and tested method, with no guarantee that it’ll work for you. But it worked well for me, so I thought I’d share. If you have any synopsis writing tips of your own please pop them in the comments below, as I’m always keen on new ideas and advice.
1. Write a bullet list of key points
In this first step it’s important not to think too hard. Write a list of the key points in your story, but don’t worry about what you’re including. Use the first points that come into your head. Chances are that if they stand out, they’re important.