Okay, so I don't run, but I've heard that pacing is crucial when running long distance. The runner has to find the rhythm of their feet, and not start too early lest they burn out by the end.
Well, my friends, writing a book is very much like running ten marathons--back to back.
Just as for runners, writers have to deal with pacing, and it's very difficult. In fact, pacing is one of the things I struggle with the most. When I was querying POSSESSION, I got mixed feedback specific to the pacing. One agent would say, "I like it, but the pacing is a bit too slow." Another said, "The pacing is a bit too quick, and I'm left trying to figure too much out."
I couldn't win. (I think pacing might be an uphill battle for a lot of authors, and even when we think we've got the novel paced just so, readers might not agree.)
When my now-agent emailed to ask for revisions, what did she mention? You guessed it. Pacing. She thought the last third was too slow.
What did I do?
Yes, okay! Yes, I did. I just DID NOT KNOW how to get the pacing right.
After I finished crying, I got down to business. I did what all good writers do: I read a book.
And it is about the writing, not necessarily about what happens (the plot). At least, that's what I took away from Stein's book. It's in how many words I use to convey something, whether that something be emotion or plot, dialog or narration.
I continue to use the tips in STEIN ON WRITING, like looking at every sentence and eliminating any words that aren't needed. I sometimes write in shorter sentences (or fragments) in an especially fast scene. I look at the beginning and ending of each scene, and see if I can enter it later or end it earlier. All of those things help to quicken the pacing. And I learned them all from Stein.
I'm still not the the super-bestest at pacing, but hey. I can acknowledge my weaknesses.
What are your feelings on pacing? Do you like a faster-paced story, or a slower-paced one? If you're a writer, how do you tackle the beast that is pacing?