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How do you judge the pacing of your stories?

Discussion in 'Creative Zone' started by Wolf Expert, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things

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    I've been told before that I tend to take things slowly in my writing. Some people like that, other people think that it takes too long to get to the point. I was watching a video earlier made by Butch Hartman, an artist and the creator of several cartoons on Nickelodeon. He was reviewing the pilot episode for the Fairly Odd Parents, one of his cartoons, and said that the pacing was a lot slower than what he would have done nowadays. He also mentioned that older movies he used to like would seem too slow when he goes back to watch them. So that got me thinking. How do you know if the pacing is too fast or too slow? Could it be that people are just too impatient nowadays to sit through something, and that instead people would prefer just to get to the action right away?

    What do you do about this?
     
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  2. Hraesvelgr

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    Is really up and down for me, not like I show my stuff to a lot so I really only have my own judgement on this matter, it can at times be seen in my RP replies tho.
     
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  3. Laserdragon14

    Laserdragon14 Team Azure Dragon Maverick Hunter

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    Especially right now, I think that I sometimes get too quick to the point and not let anyone theorize on what is going to happen next and sometimes even tell them too much too early. I'm trying to fix this with not much luck atm.
     
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  4. SnowboundBecca

    SnowboundBecca Scarf Enthusiast

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    It really depends on the genre of the story. Sometimes you want to put people in the action right away, adding in bits of plot information through narration and then settling back down after the current problem has been taken care of. Other times you'll want to start slow while gradually picking up the pace before a big climax to an episode.

    As I'm trying to write my own stories, I tend to lean back to look through it all and ask myself, "does this fit with the overall theme of the story?" or "is there a way I can make this scene shorter/longer?" Again, it depends. All of this is self-taught though, so I'm not really an expert in this sort of thing. :sweat:
     
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  5. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things

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    I feel like I've kind of had that problem lately too. It's difficult since I'm trying to write my story in third person omniscient, which is generally considered the hardest way to write a story. It's not fully omniscient, but sometimes I do give details of what multiple characters are thinking at a given moment and I'm not sure how well that actually works out.
     
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  6. Laserdragon14

    Laserdragon14 Team Azure Dragon Maverick Hunter

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    I guess that we'll just have to figure it out together. Good luck with your book! :3
     
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  7. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things

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    520+ pages in. It's getting there. Slowly. x_x
     
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  8. Junkrat

    Junkrat Demolitions Expert

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    I'm on all of your threads omg

    I'd say the biggest struggle a writer faces is self criticism. As an artist, you can tell if something is wrong because it may not look right, depending on your style. There are references and such to tell if certain body proportions aren't correct, or if something was drawn incorrectly. With writing, we don't really have those references, so it's a lot harder to tell when something is wrong.

    That being said, I think you can tell if your pacing is too fast if you plan to have a long story and by, say, the tenth chapter you've already reached a major plot point. If your story is more drawn out, those sorts of things tend to take longer to get to. If the reader knows the story will be on the longer side, I'm sure they won't necessarily mind waiting for a bit, and be content with reading the other things along the way. As for pacing being too slow- I guess you can tell this when you reach a certain point in the story and you still haven't gotten anywhere or revealed anything important.

    I think a lot of it depends on what you're really aiming for, and as mentioned above, the genre. I think things like drama can have faster pacing, but it's forgiven because it adds to the tension and overall drama and conflict to the story.
     
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  9. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things

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    I would say that reading other writer's works sort of counts as references, but that's also keeping in mind that anything fully published has probably gone through many stages of editing, most likely by multiple people unless it's self-published.

    That's a pretty good point. When I was told before that the pacing of my story was too slow, it was in a writing class where the class knew what was going to happen, but didn't know how long the story was going to be. If it had been fully written already and they held the book in their hands so they could see how long it was, that might have been less of an issue. They would know what to expect, but expect that it would take at least a little while to get there. Later on, when it did get to that dramatic point I had alluded to beforehand, someone even mentioned that they liked that I repeated the previous day's events, making it seem monotonous, like something that happened every day, before suddenly being hit by a huge upsetting change in the main character's life.
     
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  10. Junkrat

    Junkrat Demolitions Expert

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    That's certainly true! That, and it may not line up to your specific writing style.

    Honestly, there are people who are quick to drop something if there isn't any action or something groundbreaking every chapter, which can get irritating as the writer. But to combat fast pacing, something I've tried doing is making 'filler' chapters- chapters where characters are just doing normal things amidst all the chaos they're going through. Of course, there's still some important stuff that happens to help advance the plot, but otherwise some chapters are just slow. And there really isn't anything wrong with that.

    Though, doing filler chapters entirely depends on the kind of story you're writing and the plot, so I wouldn't say it works often.
     
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  11. Getus

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    Pacing is something I've always struggled with, but for me I split my story into arcs and in each arc I set out key points that need to be achieved. Afterwards I try to justify what the story would benefit from between each point, such as character growth, world/lore reveal etc etc.
     
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  12. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things

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    I try to do the same but it is really difficult. Especially when it just seems to go on for so long. There's this one part I still need to go back and add things to, but it's already so long as it is. It won't make sense otherwise though. Uuugh.
     
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  13. SyWry

    SyWry Psychic

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    Pacing. I don't know what to say for this one. I just write what feels right and most of the time, the pacing is okay. Sometimes things feel like they drown on and on, but when I reread it, its actually quite fast. One thing I guess I try to do to speed things up and cut out a lot of busy words is to show what my characters personalities are rather than telling you what they are. Often times this works pretty well. In my currently published story, I spend a lot of time on action scenes primarily because that was the main focus of my story, decent action. My next story will have far more complex themes, and I'll spend a lot of time on those themes.

    I think there are two ideas to consider if you feel something's slow or fast, how does the scene build your story, and what is the main focus of your story. If a scene builds the story and is the main focus, make little changes to the pacing. If a part doesn't build the story, but is the main focus, make little changes. If a section builds the story, but is not the main focus, you may want to consider speeding it up. If something doesn't build your story and isn't part of your focus, just remove it altogether. I think these ideas go beyond pacing as well, but they are the rules that I try to abide by.
     
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  14. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    I'm thirty-ish chapters into my Moon novelization and just arriving at Kiawe's trial. I used to rush things a lot, but seeing how I'm doing some worldbuilding and character development in between the game's storyline, I don't consider it much filler.

    Not totally sure how I judge it, but I do know that going at an extremely slow pace can actually hurt in the long run since the story gets drawn longer and mulling over the events that are anticipated end up fizzling out.
     
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  15. Eclipse

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    Pacing is not something I really worry about. Since most of my stories are short, everything is wrapped up and dealt with before it drags on too long, so generally it isn't even an issue. I don't like slow stories myself, so I tend not to have the characters in the same place for very long - even if the flow or pacing doesn't seem to be very fast, I make sure there is at least some progress or development going on. Sometimes some background information is necessary to understand the area, plot, or characters, but I throw in only as much information as I feel is necessary.

    Now, if I were writing a full-on novella? I'd probably not change a whole lot, since it would be the same thing as that which I already do, just a little bit longer. I suppose one day I'd like to challenge myself with one of those again, but short stories are just so fun that I don't even know if I want to look back.
     
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  16. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things

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    I guess I'm sort of an old-fashioned writer? Before TV was common and people generally knew what foreign places and such looked like, writers had to be really detailed in order for the readers to be able to visualized what was happening. That led to a lot of books being really long and slow-paced. I guess that's not really a bad thing.
     
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