Monday, January 23, 2012

Pace Yourself - And Your Reader

Leading Your Readers at the Right Pace

by Carrie K Sorensen

Man Running
The book I'm reading right now has me thinking about pacing. It's a fiction novel with a historian as the main character. The writing is thick and descriptive and the story is very engaging. My issue with it's pacing is that I honestly can't read more than 40 pages without being ready to put it down. Again, the story is engaging. I don't actually want to put it down. The prose is so thick, however, that my poor brain just can't take more than an hour or so at a time.

It is a good book for me to read because of that. The YA I usually read and write is much more fast paced with a much lighter style. Too much of that light style, though, and you end up with the fluff of a candy cane book. Whether you're writing YA or in a different genre, you don't want the heavier writing all the time, either. (Of course, there are always exceptions.)

Varying the pace seems the best option. Maybe start with something light and breezy to carry the reader along, then add depth to the writing to make the reader think and engage more strongly. I think about writing it the other way, too - depth, then easy flow - but worry what comes after the depth might be too light. The transition is definitely doable as long as the lighter writing isn't too fluffy. In my case, it would take a lot of trial and error. I'm positive there are writers out there who feel the opposite.

So here's the question (ehem, questions) of the day. What is your preferred pacing style? Any tips for those of us who struggle with what comes natural to you? Or maybe some tips on how you learned to write a pace that didn't come naturally?

You know, basically I want your entire writer's life story. ;) At least as it deals with pacing.

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