Sunday, November 22, 2015

1 Best of AYAP: Scenes & Pacing

Pacing is one of the trickiest elements of writing. A somewhat elusive concept, and one difficult to get right, it can be easy to notice that pacing feels 'off,' but difficult to know how to fix it. Similarly, when plotting a novel, it can be difficult to find that perfect balance of scenes that pushes the story forward.

Many of the posts below approach pacing and scenes from an objective standpoint, pulling the concepts apart and assigning concrete ways that troubleshooting or plotting can be approached. Whether you're approaching pacing and scene choice from the plotting or revising side of the writer's desk, there's a wealth of information collected in the posts below.

On Pacing Through Dialogue

"In my experience there are three common dialogue problems that result in bogged-down pacing: white noise; perfect questions, perfect answers; and stating the obvious." - Amy K. Nichols

On Learning When to Show or Tell

"I'm not saying that most instances of telling wouldn't be stronger when converted to showing. But after agonizing over the examples in my own writing, and changing most of them, I'm not sure that the obvious cure isn't sometimes worse than the problem. If you can't come up with a unique and original way to express emotion, is it better to stick with simplicity?" - Martina Boone

On Finding Story Beats

"I saw exactly what was missing from my book. I was missing key beats, and furthermore, those that I was hitting, I was hitting them late in the story line. Pacing and powerful, distinct scenes that propel the story forward – that was the secret to getting my book noticed." - Ara Grigorian

On the Relationship Between Stimulus and Response

"Our characters learn because we put them in conflict with an antagonist, stick their butts in moral or mortal danger, and force them to fight their way back out." - Martina Boone

On Analysing Pacing Problems

"Pacing, like any other tool in the writer’s toolbox, has no definitive correct or incorrect usage—just the RIGHT usage. It all depends on the author’s intent and the reader experience." - Jake Kerr

On Crafting Memorable Scenes

"Even within a scene or aftermath, characters constantly gain new goals as complications are piled on. They emote, react, and make decisions based on those goals while still trying to attain the overall objective. All of this creates suspense, tension, and a need for the reader to turn the pages." - Martina Boone

On Being Tricky with Pacing

"Pacing balances acceleration with aesthetics to make each story a trip worth taking. Writers decide whether a section is best served by speed toward a particular destination or a winding journey through evocative details." - Charlie Price

On Activating Your Scenes

"Anchor your scenes around an active, emotional image. Make sure your scenes aren't taking place in empty space, give your characters something to do while they are talking to each other, and make sure that the things they interact with in the scene give them the opportunity to reveal both character and emotion." - Martina Boone

What do you think? Was there any advice that particularly resonated with you? Any posts you think we've missed that should be on this list?

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1 comment:

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