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Alas, Woe--my pace is too slow!

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Alas, Woe--my pace is too slow!

Post  Rachel on Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:11 pm

My dear Write On-ers, I must ask a question of you. It's silly, but I'm not sure what else to do at this point other than to ask it.

As most of you have noted when you've read excerpts of my WIPs, I seem to have an issue with starting my stuff slowly. I don't know why, but that's how it is--a slow pace at the beginning, and it probably carries through to the rest of the manuscript (though I think my perception is too clouded to tell). It's not just a telling/passive voice issue--I've carefully combed passages for both of those problems in the past, and still had readers tell me that the pace is slow. So, dear gurus of all things writerly, help a poor writerish friend out--what can I DOOOOO? (Um. Yeah. Feeling just a little bit overdramatic today. *cough*) What tactics do you use to keep your pace moderate? Have you had a problem like this, and if so, how did you overcome it?

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Re: Alas, Woe--my pace is too slow!

Post  Amanda on Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:56 pm

Well, when I find the pace lagging, it usually means that I'm spreading out the events/important things…that they're stretched, like butter, scraped over too much bread. XD (I may not have read all of LOTR yet, but I HAVE read the first half of The Fellowship. Razz)

The key to fixing that is to combine the events, brainstorm about how to squish two or three events(I'm not talking like, major plot points, obviously) into one scene and one event. Condense the timeline, make each scene move character, setting, plot, and worldbuilding, etc. forward. If a scene moves forward plot but not character, mesh it with a scene that moves forward character but not plot.

It involves quite a bit of outlining—maybe take a look at your first five chapters and write a sentence/bullet point for each character, plot, & setting thing that needs to happen. Then try to combine them into as few scenes as possible. You can always spread them out a little bit if it gets too crowded, but I don't think you'll have an over-correction problem, since your tendency is to have them spread out already. Smile Then, if that works, you know…just keep doing that for your next chapters. ^_^

I hope that helps a bit! Smile
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Re: Alas, Woe--my pace is too slow!

Post  Maggie on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:13 am

Awww, I understand slow beginnings! =( Interestingly enough, my problem has actually been making a story too fast, and having to beef it up. *rolls eyes*

I can't really compete with Amanda's awesome answer, but off the top of my head, my advice is don't worry about pacing SO MUCH when you're drafting. I think part of the slow pace comes from flushing out your story, and making sure you've hit all the points you want to hit. All that stuff.

Then, when it's time to revise, just pay attention to where in particular readers say its slow, and -- like Amanda said -- focus on trying to squish many longer events into a shorter scene. Also, if you can, read it like it's someone else's work, and see where YOU would tell THEM it's slow. I know that's easier said than done, but it may be worth a shot?

Good luck!

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Re: Alas, Woe--my pace is too slow!

Post  Rachel on Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:46 pm

@Amanda — Thanks so much! I'm definitely going to try that. That tactic might help my rather reclusive short story, as well...hmmm. :-)

@Maggie — Haha, maybe we should trade manuscripts for a day. :-P Not really, but I'd love to have the problem of making it too fast. I'm definitely going to try these methods, because I need to do *something*!

But! The good news is that I'm finally on spring break, and thus can WRITE! For REAL! cheers

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Re: Alas, Woe--my pace is too slow!

Post  Maggie on Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:05 am

Rachel wrote:@Amanda — Thanks so much! I'm definitely going to try that. That tactic might help my rather reclusive short story, as well...hmmm. :-)

@Maggie — Haha, maybe we should trade manuscripts for a day. :-P Not really, but I'd love to have the problem of making it too fast. I'm definitely going to try these methods, because I need to do *something*!

But! The good news is that I'm finally on spring break, and thus can WRITE! For REAL! cheers

Haha, we should. Razz But not really. The too-fast problem is born out of being AFRAID to bore people, so I just kind of skim over everything and it's ridiculous. Rolling Eyes My latest challenge to myself has been to draw things out, in the drafting stage, so I'm not left with so much blank space, unsure how to fill it.

WOOHOO! Spring break!! HAVE FUN. Very Happy

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