Pacing is crucial to storytelling. Get it wrong, and you either overwhelm or bore your readers. Today, let’s delve into the dangers of pacing that’s either too fast or too slow.
The quote above from Gary Provost is about sentences, but the same applies if you zoom out from the micro level and into the macro of your story. If every paragraph is the same length, it gets boring. If every chapter has exactly one (1) event, it gets monotonous. Sometimes events need to happen fast-fast-fast, cluster them together, your protagonists can’t cope with it. But your readers can’t cope with it, either, if that’s always happening. So sometimes you need to slow down, let everyone breathe, reflect on the madness.
When you rush through your story, you sacrifice depth. There’s no time to develop characters or allow for emotional impact. Everything happens so quickly that the reader can’t absorb the significance of events. It’s like a summer blockbuster where all the high-impact scenes are clustered together. It’s exciting, sure, but also exhausting and devoid of meaning.
On the flip side, a story that crawls along risks losing its audience. You’re moving, but not fast enough to keep you engaged. Long drawn-out subplots, or excessive detail, can bog down the main story and make it lose its punch. The thrill of the story dissipates, and readers may not even stick around for the climax.