How fast does your story move for the reader? Or do you want it to go slower? Are you searching for the balance between the two?
Pacing is a writer’s secret weapon. It can keep readers locked into your story, have them itching for the next page, or it can make everything go so fast they don’t ever process the scene.
Controlling the pacing of your story will take your writing to the next level. That’s why we’ve gathered these tips on pacing for your YA novel.
Learn what a breather is
While fast-paced action scenes are memorable, sometimes your readers need a moment to stop and reflect. These are the quieter moments, where elements like relationship conflicts, internal conflicts, and memories can take the spotlight. These moments give your character time to make decisions, reflect on their actions, and can also be great catalysts for change in your character’s arc.
In media res
Where do you open your story? Many writers have fallen into the classic pitfall of starting their story too late. Try starting where the action begins. When you enter a scene, enter at the point of action. People don’t need to see your character enter and exit a room. They need to see the important moments that take place in that room.
Utilize sentence length
Many poets know how important form is. With shorter sentences, for example, tension increases in a scene. Long sections of dialogue can be split up with short moments of exposition.
Be strategic about releasing information
Control how information is given and make promises to your reader about information that’s coming. This is a great way to sustain interest for your reader. There should always be something they’re waiting to find out.
Solicit help from friends
Ask a friend to read your story. Tell them to highlight anywhere the pacing feels too slow/they get bored. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if our own writing is working. It’s always good to get new eyes on it to see if your pacing is working.
Make sure that the end of a chapter compels your reader to turn the page. Try not to overuse them, though, or your reader will get tired.
Details can slow down a moment, and a lack of details can speed up a moment. Figure out which you need for a scene and base your writing on that.
Decide what’s important
We love all the details included in our books, but are they all needed? Decide what’s important to your story and what can be deleted. Be generous with your red pen.
How do you pace your stories? Is there anything else you’d like to learn about publishing? Check out some of our other blogs on our website!