When authors talk about story pacing they typically mean the pace of the storyline. In reality, there is much more to it.
Plot. I’m referring to the speed with which an idea for the story comes together. Though I have successfully written books by having the beginnings only, trusting that the rest would present itself as I went along, I generally like to have an idea how things are going to go for the characters, including the ending.
More than just they lived happily ever after.
With my current project, the story took root decades ago in the wake of my Near Death Experience. In the ensuing years plot elements were added eventually fleshing out a unique story.
A story I never considered publishing.
A couple of years ago, while in the midst of EMF Sensitivity research, it occurred to me that perhaps there was more to the story than I’d considered. My initial reaction was stupefaction.
The thought of turning the complex story into a novel was intimidating.
I knew I could write fiction. My concern with this unique story was where in the world to begin. I set it aside for future consideration and continued with the projects I already had planned out.
A series of nonfiction health books, several novels, and my two blog sites.
Progression. This would be the pace at which the plot will move. It includes how soon characters are introduced and how quickly you unfold the storyline.
Give away too much too soon and you have a boring book the reader has already figured out long before the last page.
This is the pace at which I allow myself to move with the story. Interestingly, it’s most difficult with stories close to my heart.
I love all my stories or I wouldn’t bother. It’s just that some are more special than others.
I often want to hurry and get a thought or scene down before I lose the thread or before the ideal mood/moment is lost.
This is particularly annoying when it happens in the middle of the night.
Each story plays out differently.
I thought I’d rushed a scene in my current project so I set it aside (backup copy) and started all over. To my amusement, the rewrite ended up in the same place. Accepting that I really wanted things to move at this pace, and deciding my first version had merit, I sewed the two together.
This is definitely a learn as I go aspect of writing fiction and as a result, mentally tiring.
Tedium. I know I’m finished with a writing session when I get to the point my story has deteriorated to brushing teeth.
He/She got out of bed. They went to the bathroom. They brushed their teeth.
Time to set the story aside and wait til I know what to do next. Forcing it will result in poor storytelling.
This is actually difficult for me to do. I am desperate to keep writing but I know if I push it I’ll end up with something I can’t use.
Being Type A I prefer writing as often as possible. I have to remind myself taking breaks is good and results in a story I can be proud of because the pace is what I want and need it to be.
Bittersweet Endings. I have a few stories where I have left the ending open rather than tie everything up in a neat little bow.
It’s more realistic.
The idea of they lived happily ever after suggests that, like turning out a light and plunging a room into darkness, everything suddenly ends
This was particularly relevant when I found myself wanting to know more about how Josephina and Jeremy were making out in their love story. It’s one thing to say I love you but it’s another to live day to day with a person who is every bit as stubborn as you are.
While it’s true I feel a sense of accomplishment when a story is available for purchase, I also feel a bit bereft. I miss my characters. I miss being in the thick of the adventure.
It probably helps that toward the end of a project I begin laying the foundation for the next.
Even if I jump right into the next project, I need time to “recalibrate.”
I don’t want to say mourn because that would be just too dramatic. It wouldn’t be true, either.
I look forward to sharing more about my current project in the near future.