Tag Archives | pacing

The tortoise and the hare – which are you?

We all know the famous story of the tortoise and the hare.

And that story all comes down to one thing.


The pacing of your novel is a biggie. And I think one of the harder aspects of writing to get right. But that’s for another day.

I want to talk about the pacing of your writing process. How fast do you go from idea, to prewriting, to writing, to revising, to querying? Because just like the rabbit, if we rush through the process, I think we’ll be barbecuing and drinking lemonade with the hare. (And I have it on good authority, he likes lemonade.)

Do you take that glorious, brilliant, shining-like-the-sun idea and jump in feet first? I love flashy new ideas but I always have to check it against what I’ve read recently. Aspects of my favorite novels tend to creep in. And we’re looking to be unique, right?

That’s why I like to brainstorm and plot a new story while I’m revising a different one. I need time. To brainstorm 5, 10, 15, 20 ideas to find the version I absolutely love.

Am I the only one on this? I’ve had to learn to write more/faster but slow down certain aspects of the overall process. Or can we go too slow?

Pacing. So, who are you? The tortoise or the hare? Have you found the right balance?



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Skimming (and I don’t mean stones)

Okay. Tell the truth time – even though it’s not Tuesday.

I love, love, love a good book. As with most writers – I always have. But learning to write has turned me into a super picky reader. Sometimes, I skim (gulp). I have several different reactions when I read.

This is the most terrific story and I’m going to run out and tell everyone about it.

 These stories I read word for word. I get caught up in the humor, suspense, the characters. At this level, I would read about the character doing the most mundane things like drinking milk or making a pb and j sandwich. I relish every minute reading it and am disappointed when the experience ends.

This is a good book and I’ll give it a favorable review but I’m not gushing or anything.

I’ll read this book and have a healthy respect for the writing and the author. I’ll give it favorable reviews. Most likely, I’ll read this word for word.

The story could have been a lot better.

I hate to say it. I never used to skim. But I don’t have time to waste on a book that is only half interesting. If there is a series of scenes of only character development and not plot, I’ll skim. And if it continues, I’ll skip huge chunks of the middle. The sad thing is, I’ll read the ending and realize I didn’t miss a thing. I still completely understood the ending.

Danger zone of losing me as a reader.

These are the books that after the first page or chapter, I stop reading. They might be good books, worthy of being published, they just didn’t draw me into the story – at all. And I’m sure this is extremely subjective.

Of course, there are levels in between. I didn’t start skimming until I became a writer. It makes me realize how important pacing, structure, micro tension are to a story.

Why does this phenomenon occur?

It’s because I read to learn. I do read for pleasure too, but I want to learn at the same time. And because I want to get the most out of my time, I won’t waste it. I think if I stopped writing and went back to just reading for pleasure, I’d stop skimming as much.

What do you think? Why and when do you skim?

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