Expositional Pacing (Story Engineering and Physics #9 of 12)

Part of a series of posts on story engineering based on the book of that title and its companion volume Story Physics.

Story Engineering & Story PhysicsI love a book or movie that starts slowly and builds. Though sometimes, I like a move that starts with a bang and then turns into a whirlwind on a freight train.

That’s pacing.

Books that start slow and stay slow are fine for intellectual improvement. If we’re writing to entertain, we need to be more aware of the speed of our story.

During the first 25%, the Setup, the pace is often slower, because we’re introducing our characters, setting the stage for the hero so when we get to the First Plot Point we’re invested and engaged; we care about the stakes.

During the Response and Attack, those two middle quarters, pacing rises and falls as we create tension through action, then create tension through inaction, thought, exposition, etc.

But when we hit the Second Plot Point, we’d better be set up for a chase scene. The final 25% of the book, your Climax, should be unputdownable. Not only is it right for most stories, it’s what your reader will remember when they finish.

Plenty of tips and tricks out there in the ether about creating and adjusting appropriate pacing. Getting it right, matching your genre and the place you are in your story, is like using exactly the right spices in a dish: miss by a little, maybe no one notices.

Nail it, and you’ve got a hit.

If you enjoy the posts in this series, please do me a favor and buy Larry’s books. This blog is free, of course, but I couldn’t be teaching you these things without Larry’s writing and blog. The $25 it will cost you to buy the books will be more than repaid by the information you get from them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *