For me, I think pacing is probably the second-hardest element of writing. (Voice being hardest. It’s so nebulous.)
But pacing and plotting go hand-in-hand. Maybe that’s why I consider pacing so difficult. I lean heavily toward the pantsing end of the plotter-pantser spectrum.
One element of pacing is the reveal of motivations/reasons/logic bits of worldbuilding. (I write fantasy so that last bit really comes into play.)
This new season on television, I’ve culled quite a few shows but I’ve added one (two) shows to my lineup. The CW’s Arrow is one of them. Love this show. (And no, not just because Captain Jack has appeared and is now back on my TV.)
It’s a solid show, in my opinion. Of course it has all the standard comic book/superhero tropes. That’s a given, considering it’s based off a DC comic.
One of the biggest tropes is that no one puts two and two together to figure out the real-life identity of our superhero/vigilante.
At least, in the comics it’s a trope. And it’s one Arrow has attacked head on really early in the season. For those not familiar with the show or the comic (definitely me on the latter), the MC was shipwrecked and lived on a remote island for five years. He was found and returned home and now he’s a bow-and-arrow wielding vigilante by night, rich playboy by day.
The obvious question here is when is someone going to figure out they both showed up at the same time? We’re only five episodes into the season and they’ve already confronted that issue, even going so far as to have the MC state to his lone confidant that he expected people to start suspecting the truth. And that he’s got a contingency plan for when that happens.
To connect it with writing, I encountered a similar situation with Woven. After it came back from betas, I thought hard about some of the issues underlying some of the comments. And I realized that I needed to move up a couple of reveals. Specifically the MC’s father’s absence. The MC refers quite often to the deaths of her parents and the grandmother who raised her from the time she was a baby. She has a lot of resentment over her father’s absence, which is something I wanted to reveal slowly.
But the snail’s pace I originally set for it was causing a bit of hangup in understanding the MC. I had originally written the reveal into one scene, with one of the three love interests, then cut it. Then I added it back into the book, in a different scene and with another love interest. It works better now and it helps with some character development without slowing down the pacing. I just lengthened a conversation the two characters were having in a quiet moment to add it in, but the scene was already there.
Do you struggle with pacing? Do you agree with me that it’s a very difficult part of writing?
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