Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Problem with Pacing

So I have this problem with pacing. When I start a WiP I usually have at least some of it plotted out (like the beginning). And I'll write out the chapters that have been plotted all happily and feeling like I'm doing great. Then when I get to the end of those chapters, I get a little stuck.

I end up just writing, free flowing with whatever comes out, which isn't a bad thing really. Words are getting done and all that. The problem comes when I'm just adding scenes in that aren't really moving the plot forward or helping develop my characters, scenes that slow my pacing down. They're just there. Still not too bad a thing in a draft. Stuff like that can still help you flesh out and learn more about your story and characters.

The real problem with me and pacing comes in during revisions. Because those scenes I wrote (those ones that don't help my pacing, that don't really add to the story) become very dear to me. I pour my time and effort into them and love them.
I love them so much that I don't want to get rid them. I never want to let them go.

So I hold onto them simply because I like them. I don't see how they slow down my pacing, how they halt the action, how they ruin the sequence of events that need to happen.

I only see how they make me smile or tear up and the time and effort that it took me to write them. And I don't want to see that--them--just disappear.

I did this with my last MS. I knew there were scenes that I had to take out. But I didn't. I kept them through various rounds of revisions. Eventually though, I realized they weren't helping my story. That I was cheating my writing and my readers by keeping scenes that only bogged down the pacing. They didn't help.

It's still something I have to work on even though I know about it. One of my CP's told me about a technique to help maintain good pacing. It's a scene/sequel method and it's been so helpful. I'm so glad she told me about it. It's a template for chapters, using an alternating patter for 'scene chapters' then 'sequel chapters.' In short, scenes have a goal, conflict, then disaster.
Sequels show the reaction, dilemma, then resulting decision.

I'm also working on my plotting too--on taking the time to actually flesh out a plot. It's hard because I'm more of a panster, but I think I'm slowly getting better at it. My goal for my next story is to have a full plot planned out before I start writing.

So what about you guys? Any of you have difficulty with pacing like me? Check back next week when we share ways in which we fight these problems and save our stories!

1 comment:

  1. This happens. We fall IN LOVE with a scene and hate cutting it. I know it hurts sometimes so much. SO MUCH. But the story is stronger for it...