Reflections on pacing

Going to completely ignore the fact that it’s been almost four months since my last post here. Okay? Okay.


I’ve been reading a lot lately. They say that the first step to learning how to write is by reading other people’s work and I definitely believe there is something to that. I’ve tried to branch out a bit while still staying squarely in the fantasy genre which has mostly resulted in me trying out some random authors. One of my swiftly growing pet peeves when it comes to reading is pacing. Pacing is a Big Deal. I have no idea whether I pace well or not (I still haven’t read my NaNoWriMo).

Over the last months I’ve read books that drag on and on. Even though the book is well written, characters are interesting and the over-all plot is engaging, if the novel is filled to the brim of sub-plots and slow-moving character development I quickly fall behind. I completely understand the desire to want to focus on smaller archs in a wide-spanning story, but it’s a precarious balance.

To give myself a break and enough time to want to refocus on the book I was reading with slow pacing, I picked up a young adult fantasy I’ve seen around for ages. Here the pacing issue is completely reversed. In this series, the characters don’t have a single moment to catch their breath. There’s constant action going BAMBAMBAM and it certainly makes for quick and easy reading but I find myself feeling somewhat tired out when I put it down. “Too much of a good thing” can be applied here, though it’s hardly a Pulitzer in the waiting.

I do worry whether my pacing is good. To have a balanced story between character and action is desirable, at least for me. It is with that balance in place that I engage most eagerly in a book and there certainly are authors that manage it, including once of my favorites. Since it is such a distinct issue for me as a reader, does that mean that I am better equipped to balance it as a writer?

I have absolutely no idea. Do you?




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