The importance of pacing

Pacing is a frequently overlooked aspect of writing. The speed at which your story moves can determine a lot of things, including its success and appeal. Your audience can drastically change depending on your pacing.

Now, a great example of this is a visual format is the Disney Pixar movie Up. This cartoon is widely debated as either the most boring or the most exceptional of the Pixar cartoons. Why does it cause such deliberation? Because of its pacing. It is a very slow paced movie, and even has many scenes without dialogue of any sort. This is a huge difference when compared to the typical flash and bang of most modern cartoons and movies, but this choice was made deliberately by Pixar. Why? Because they wanted to focus more on plot than action.

In your writing, you need to be aware of your pacing. Action scenes should be faster paced; dramatic, tense scenes slower paced. Pacing is determined by a lot of factors: your word use, your sentence structure, your sentence length, your paragraph length, and even your punctuation. If you do not know what the pace is, try reading it out loud. Do you speed up or slow down when reading? Do you feel tense and anxious or relaxed and contemplative?

Pacing can determine how well you story is received by your audience and even what type of audience you appeal to. A slower paced book will appeal to an older crowd, while a fast paced one will appeal to a younger one (in general). The opposite is true of children’s books. Younger children need slow books, while older ones enjoy stories with lots of action and adventure.

The best thing for writers to do is learn to vary the pace of their writing with the action happening in the plot of their story. If you can master the art of pacing then you can create suspense, engender emotion, and even surprise your readers.

Pacing is not just for writers of fiction either. Poets use punctuation and formatting to set the pace of their poems, and even rhyme and meter can affect how the poem is read and what impact it has on the reader. Non-fiction writers need to keep their work fast paced to avoid dullness, or slower paced to emphasize important elements.

Regardless of what you write, pace is an important element to keep in mind. Pace determines how your readers will absorb your writing, and with that how much appeal your writing has.

Guest post by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of nanny payrollShe welcomes your comments at her email:  jdebra84 @


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