5 Star Review: Pacing
So what is 5 star review? Well, this is where, as a reviewer, I let you know what makes me rate your book 5 stars – or not. This week’s topic: pacing
Please note that some things that turn me off to your book as a reader/reviewer turn others on and vice versa.
Since we’re talking about good pacing this week, I promise that I won’t ramble on like I have with these topics before. I’ve read quite a few books that suffer from a lack of good pacing. I think one of the biggest amateur author mistakes is including too much non-relevant information. There has to be a point to every scene. Worse is when the pacing slows on the “boring” parts of the characters’ stories and speeds up when the “exciting” stuff happens. It’s frustrating to read four or five pages about Mindy drinking her morning coffee and then two sentences about how she ran over a guy last summer. Why couldn’t there be five pages about the hit and run instead? Even as a flashback, it is much more entertaining than reading about someone eating or driving a car or sleeping.
So, what is the pace of a story? It is how fast the plot advances in the story. The plot advances much faster in action scenes than in narratives and the writing on the page should reflect this change. Let’s start by focusing on this post. The top section of the post is wordy and the text takes up the entire page from left to right. It will take you, as the reader, double the amount of time to read these two paragraphs than to read the next two “sections”.
How to speed up the pace:
- - Shorter sentences
- - Less descriptions
- - More action
- - Back and forth dialogue.
How to slow down the pace:
- - Long, complex sentences
- - More descriptions
- - Minimal action
- - Monologues/narrative
Of course, there needs to be a balance. Too much white on a page is just as tiring as too little. I like a very fast pace “thriller” feel to the books I read. In my mind, if the characters aren’t talking or the characters aren’t moving, then it’s not important. Long narratives lose my interest quickly and so do long monologues, which tend to happen when the author is trying to “info-dump” through dialogue. Other readers might enjoy the slower sections of the novel to relax their mind and “take a breather” so to speak.
Reader: Do you like fast paced books, leisurely paced books, or something in between? Or does it depend on the genre?