Pacing problems

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    Thomas (CrØss_Bl₳de)

    I haven’t been here in a while, have I? Oops.

    But anyways, I’m struggling with pacing my story. Everything is flying by in my story. Stuff is happening too quickly.

    How do I slow myself down?

    *Forum Signature here*



    Are you a pantser? My advice sort of hinges on you being one, but I’ll go ahead and give the advice of a panster who can’t plot to save her life (O.K. I can come up with ideas for the end of the book while sitting in the car bored and staring out of the window, but I can’t do traditional plotting).

    So… I’m actually feeling the same problem right now with a story I’m working on. Everything feels like it happens way too fast, or I have these scenes where nothing much happens, but I’m not worried about it just now.

    My advice is to simply keep on doing what you’re doing. Just let it fly, as Andrew Peterson said, point the horse in the right direction and let the reigns go. As long as you’re writing, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just let the story translate itself from your brain to paper, and once that step is done you can go back and fill in all the holes. I’m a perfectionist, so if I was determined to make everything perfect first try, I’d never get past the first three chapters. XD

    So, if you’re not a pantser… That was probably useless advice, but that’s my recommendation. Turn on your writing music and just let it all go.

    Another thought, is that when you have the basic idea out on paper, then you can get somebody else to look at it and tell you what’s missing and ask them to give you ideas for scenes to help your story fill out a bit.

    Hope that was remotely helpful in some way shape or form. XD

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    Edmund Lloyd Fletcher

    First off, I take it as a positive sign that it turned out this way.  It usually means that you were trying to get ideas down on the page as quickly as possible, which is what the first draft is all about!

    The question is, what are you leaving out?

    Missing story?  I’ve found this often shows up as time-jumps — talking about time passing rather than taking the reader through it.  For instance “they journeyed for three days before reaching the stream”.  Really?  What happened?  Maybe nothing, but maybe we need to figure that out.

    Missing details?  There’s always our old enemy, “show don’t tell”.  What do you “see” in the scene that you’ve neglected to actually describe?  Furthermore, what is the character thinking/feeling about what’s going on?  Details both enrich the world and slow down the pacing at the same time, so, win-win!

    Homeschooling father of 10, writing Christian action/adventure novels from my home high in the Rockies.

    Buddy J.


    Hey there! I’m gonna piggy-back off of what Erica said, and say to let it out. Don’t try to slow down… but I’m gonna add onto it…

    Think about how to expand the text you’re working with. Let your descriptions puff up, let interactions grow. Build it up! I don’t have much time, so I’ll have to leave it at that for now. Feel free to ask for more explanation, and I’ll get back later.


    Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!

    Kristin Bradley

    A few things came to mind that I thought I’d share!

    What do the sequel/reaction units look like in your Scenes*? After your main character’s scene/action goal is thwarted, the sequel/reaction unit is his decision-making process about what to do next. This part helps slow the story down and often takes the form of internal narration but can also be dialogue between characters.

    Also, longer sentences slow the reader’s eye down. These are best used in sequel/reaction units and as-appropriate scene/action units. For example, if your scene/action unit was a conversation in a café or some sort of hunting trip, longer sentences may work just fine.

    But, if your scene/action unit is an argument or a guns-blazing chase through alleyways, longer sentences tend to counteract the excitement of the whole scenario. It really depends on the subject matter and the effect you want to create.

    Also, I wanted to add on to what @ericawordsmith said about just letting it fly! 🙂 As you write, if you realize a certain part should be slower, use brackets to set apart a “note to self” so it can be easily revisited at a later time. This helps keep your current creative inspiration focused. For example, [Flesh out George chopping down the apple tree.].

    *The Scene is made of two parts: the scene/action unit and the sequel/reaction unit.

    Fiction books turned into writing lessons | www.writefictionwell.com

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