Author Topic: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...  (Read 421 times)

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Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« on: February 11, 2019, 06:14:30 AM »
This is one aspect of craft I'm bedeviled by. Keeping the story going at a good clip, but not loading every scene with action for action's sake which can glaze over a reader's eyes.

One of the hardest things that's taken me a long time to get through my thick author's head is the idea of scene and sequel. Meaning, vary the pace by making sure to slow down here and there and have characters take stock of what's been going on, and not just continually write chapters of stuff happens and then stuff happens and then stuff happens...

Mind you, even with the slow-downs or sequels and checks on pacing you still want the book to rollick along. At least I do. I like thinking that what I'm writing is propulsive. What I'm saying is, it's a balancing act. How are you managing it? I'm learning...slowly.
 

Mysterywriter

Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 06:22:10 AM »
The main thing is to end every chapter with a question.

It could be a plot driven ‘what happens next?’ Question, or a more introspective ‘what is the character worried about happening next?’, but you want the reader to feel they HAVE to read on.

That’s it for me.
 
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Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

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Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2019, 08:56:29 AM »
I usually have some mystery and romance with the action. Maybe a little background story?  I like to keep things moving, but also give the characters some depth.
         
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RiverRun

Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2019, 11:52:07 AM »
I'm still learning about this myself. But here's a link to a blog post I read a while back that digs into this topic. I found it helpful - although I'm still a little confused.

https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/sequel-scenes/

I can write sequel all day and have to remind myself that something has to happen. So, I have a different problem.

 
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Maggie Ann

Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2019, 01:39:52 PM »
I'm still learning about this myself. But here's a link to a blog post I read a while back that digs into this topic. I found it helpful - although I'm still a little confused.

https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/sequel-scenes/

I can write sequel all day and have to remind myself that something has to happen. So, I have a different problem.

That was really interesting and something I need to be aware of. Since I write romance, there is usually an emotional element following a happening. It is definitely a good place to develop character.
           
 

A Fading Street

Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 12:10:52 AM »
Personally I think interspersing action with reaction is key but keeping the reaction balanced and not slowing things down too much. if you're writing a fast paced chase scene for instance, the reaction should be almost instantaneous and rapid, quick thinking on the move. Once the chase scene is at it's conclusion, a more drawn out reaction to decide who to chase next and why. One big thing I do see a lot of is having action and reaction in linear sections. So initially lots of bad things happen for a while and the reactions are generally wrong, then when the bottom is hit, everything switches, everything that happens is good and the reactions are spot-on until the final climax. Much better to throw things in that work the opposite way to the trend. It makes things more interesting and more realistic.
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Vijaya

Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2019, 12:40:30 AM »
I can write sequel all day and have to remind myself that something has to happen. So, I have a different problem.

 :icon_lol2:

What's really helped me is a rough storyboard technique I learned from Carolyn Coman at Highlights. She draws the major action, then she writes what is happening. Finally, she writes what the main character feels. Is it joy, fear, sadness? I think storyboarding is an excellent tool both for making sure there's action and keeping track of the emotional journey of the main character. It's really helped me with pacing.

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Tom Wood

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Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2019, 01:31:26 AM »
This discussion is similar to the breakdown that Lisa Cron advocates with her Story Genius scene cards:



What actually happens is only one-fifth of the scene - the consequences, why it matters, the (protagonist's) realization, and so what happens next because of the scene, make up most of the scene's importance.
 
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idontknowyet

Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2019, 03:16:06 AM »
I just recently read a book that was all action. Literally all action. It was great in the beginning but I quickly burnt out from all the emotional highs. The writer did a great job writing the action scenes, but forgot that too much is a bad thing.

I like the stair step method when it comes to action. It makes you remember that you have to have that plateau to develop characters and let your readers have a moment to breath. I also find anticipation is more exciting sometimes than the big event.
 
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She-la-te-da

Re: Propulsive, yet not too fast-paced...
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2019, 11:47:59 PM »
Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files) had a good bit on scene and sequel on his Livejournal pages. He had quite a bit of stuff about writing there. (I say "had" because I have no idea if it's still there.)
I write various flavors of speculative fiction. This is my main pen name.

 
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