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Swipe Right for Good Pacing

Pacing is a huge factor in determining your audience for your writing. I’ve had folks tell me they weren’t fans of fantasy novels because they tend to drag a description for too long, and didn’t enjoy turning page after page reading into a new world, with made up words describing places and things.

But they love Harry Potter. They love The Hunger Games. Both nailed pacing to the core—attracting multidimensional audiences through speeding up the action and slowing down in times of suspense, or even sorrow. When the Harry Potter or Hunger Game series takes us into a new world, it’s not just describing the setting, it’s adding action. When Katniss walks into the room of judges where she has to exemplify her talent, she doesn’t only pick up the bow-and-arrow, observing the distracted judges who underestimated Katniss based on her district, she shoots the damn arrow at the food (I think it was an apple inside a dead pig). When Harry looks into the mirror to uncover his heart’s deepest desire and sees his parents staring back at him, Rowling succeeded in slowing the moment for the reader to feel present in the scene.

That goes to say your audience may not like the genre of your work, but it’s appeal can come straight from the pace. Older audiences tend to love slower paced novels, and young adults may just want action, quick romantic moments (and triangles), and a lot cliff hangers. For speeding up your prose, I recommend a lot of action and dialogue to move the plot along.

A few ideas if you want to slow down your prose:

Digression--> side stories or background details—I do think too much digression makes a book boring but you do you.

When your character walks into a new setting, don’t just jump into the action, but be the camera lens-->what does your character smell, hear, what does it feel like to be in this new world? Really spend time developing the scene.

Pacing is when your audience begins to find appeal to your work. Your prose may flow like water, but without pacing in conflict, action, and suspense, your writing may be nothing more than pretty words.

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