On Writing: Pacing a Novel

I've been honing my skill in this area, and I think it's about time I gave some light to my experiences.

First I'm going to talk about the general pacing of a novel.

In this, my second incarnation of Aundes Aura, I have unwittingly developed a structure that ensures good modulation in the pacing. Put simply, when the characters are in a town, the main plot usually develops a bit further, and when the characters are between towns, their personalities and individual feelings and backstories grow. As a result, we get to understand the story from many different points of view, without ever leaving the main character.

So generally, over the course of the novel, the pacing modulates from chapter to chapter, or from one half of a chapter to the next. Say Chapter One is particularly fast-paced. You don't want it to be too fast, because you also want to introduce the characters a little, but the idea here is to kick of the plot at the inciting incident, which is the point which puts the whole plot in motion.

This inciting incident is as simple as "this is why the plot occurs". Remember that, and you'll be one step closer to a gripping beginning. The hardest part in the first page is balancing character development and quickly setting up the inciting incident.

In my first page, I jump into the inciting incident in the first few paragraphs, and this is okay because while it is all happening, we discover a little about the characters. It's perhaps better, though, to spend at least two or three pargraphs introducing the characters so the reader has some sense of them and will care more about their plight.

Just remember that an agent or publisher can base their choice on the first page, so you'll want to get stuck in as soon as you reasonably can.

One thing I originally did was start too early in the story. As in, negative plot, seven years before the real beginning of the story. I put this as a prologue, and it's actually still there just for my purposes, and most likely won't be there when I send it out to some agents.

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Shannon said...

Oh, the first page is TOO IMPORTANT. So many times have I edited my first chapter, let alone my first page. So many times!

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Welcome to The Dark Corner of the Mind. My name is Ryan Sullivan and my aim with this blog is to help others with their own writing, as well as to make note of some of my own writing endeavours.

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