PDA

View Full Version : Pacing too fast....



mirrorkisses
05-03-2008, 07:04 AM
So I've finished the rough draft and it's at 200 pages.
Last night I decided to read it and it moved way too fast. I know, it's a rough draft so I've got to expect that. But... I'm not sure how to slow it down. This is really a hard thing for me.... And I need to figure out how to do it.

What do you guys do to keep it from moving too fast? Suggestions?

JoNightshade
05-03-2008, 07:07 AM
Hmmm, first of all-- this is something that happens to me-- but I would suggest handing it to someone else and asking them if they feel the same way. Because to me, my work ALWAYS reads "too fast." Why? Because I'm so familiar with it - I already know what's going to happen, I already know what each sentence says. It's like reading a book for the second or third time, your brain skips over a lot of it. So I suspect it may not be as fast as you think.

Judg
05-03-2008, 08:11 AM
More sensory detail, especially in important bits to make them weightier and stick in the mind better. Try to make the sensory details show more about the characters (if only in what they notice), root the reader in the setting, augment the mood... In other words, don't "pad" with description. Make the description accomplish other goals at the same time.

Don't limit sensory details to what you see and hear, which we tend to do because of our conditioning by movies. Add tactile information, smells, tastes. And bodily sensations. Here's a wonderful bit from Ann Patchett's Bel Canto:

General Benjamin dropped his rifle down to Gen's chest and rested the muzzle there like a walking stick. The round opening was barely bigger than one of the studs on his shirtfront and it made a small and distinct point of pressure. "No talking."

Gen mouthed the word traductor to him. The General considered this for a moment, as if he had just been told the man he had spoken to was deaf or blind. Then he picked up his gun and walked away. Surely, Gen thought, there must be some medication that man could take that would help him. When he inhaled he felt a small, piercing ache where the point of the gun had been.
I don't know about you, but those comments about how the pressure of the gun felt on him really drew me into the scene and made me feel I was there.

Chasing the Horizon
05-03-2008, 08:14 AM
I had the same problem when I first started writing (hard to believe now, since I always run long). A lot of it was learning to show instead of telling (showing takes A LOT longer). I also got better at balancing the character development, subplots, and main plot all at the same time, which also slows the whole thing down. And description. Make sure you're describing enough of the setting, characters, and actions for the readers to picture what's going on.

I'm assuming this is your first novel, so I'm going to add that practice makes perfect with pacing, just like anything else. If it is your first novel, I would recommend playing with editing it until you get tired of it, then writing your second novel, and coming back to this first one. If I'd done it that way, I would've saved myself SO many headaches, because I learned how to solve all the problems with my first novel as I wrote my second. Of course, I'd wasted months trying to fix my first novel before making these revelations.

VGrossack
05-03-2008, 08:44 AM
This is hard to do without actually seeing your manuscript, because "moving too fast" may be the result of several different things, and as others have noted above, the manuscript may not be too fast. Also, a fast-moving plot is often welcome!

Still, here are a few other ideas:

(1) Have a few side stories
(2) Let your characters indulge in some emotions
(3) Insert more description
(4) Longer sentences usually slow down the reading experience; shorter sentences tend to quicken it
(5) Show instead of tell (mentioned above)

mirrorkisses
05-03-2008, 09:16 PM
I had the same problem when I first started writing (hard to believe now, since I always run long). A lot of it was learning to show instead of telling (showing takes A LOT longer). I also got better at balancing the character development, subplots, and main plot all at the same time, which also slows the whole thing down. And description. Make sure you're describing enough of the setting, characters, and actions for the readers to picture what's going on.

I'm assuming this is your first novel, so I'm going to add that practice makes perfect with pacing, just like anything else. If it is your first novel, I would recommend playing with editing it until you get tired of it, then writing your second novel, and coming back to this first one. If I'd done it that way, I would've saved myself SO many headaches, because I learned how to solve all the problems with my first novel as I wrote my second. Of course, I'd wasted months trying to fix my first novel before making these revelations.
it's my second.... and I am pretty good about showing instead of telling.

Phaeal
05-03-2008, 10:11 PM
More or longer sequels to scenes is the basic cure for a breathless pace.

Dale Emery
05-03-2008, 11:12 PM
What do you guys do to keep it from moving too fast? Suggestions?

In between the action scenes, add some reaction scenes (aka "Sequels") in which the character recovers a bit from what just happened, then struggles to decide what to do next (choosing the least bad from a number of bad options).

Dale

BlueLucario
05-03-2008, 11:18 PM
Isn't fast pacing a good thing? To keep the reader's eyes on the page?

mirrorkisses
05-04-2008, 01:02 AM
In between the action scenes, add some reaction scenes (aka "Sequels") in which the character recovers a bit from what just happened, then struggles to decide what to do next (choosing the least bad from a number of bad options).

Dale

good idea.

mirrorkisses
05-04-2008, 01:04 AM
Isn't fast pacing a good thing? To keep the reader's eyes on the page?
Well in some sense I would say yes, but this goes VERY quickly, plus I have at least 100 extra pages to get in there somehow, so I might as well pace it a little more slowly. But, yes, too slow is bad. I can't read Jane Austen because of her excruciatingly slow pacing.

maestrowork
05-04-2008, 01:49 AM
You can try adding details. Descriptions, thoughts, etc. Slow down your dialogue by adding more nuances, etc. Don't rush from point A to point B. Try adding some subplots or character development while the plot moves a bit slower.