The World of Pacing! Need assistance Please :-)
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Hi ladies, I am writing my first YA novel and I am in the beginning pages and realized that I have a pacing problem. I do not want to have this problem and I want it fixed. I know an editor at a publishing company who wishes to see my work and she mentioned before that she always notices problems with authors and their 'pacing." I noticed that I like to write my story as if its literally day by day! OMG. I have skipped a day or two by using transitions by page 39 but I think if I keep it up at this rate my manuscript will be like 500 pages! My story's duration is 6 months (Jan-June end of school year) and by page 42 which I believe is still considered the beginning (correct me if I'm wrong). how do you pace your story to fit it in the timeline. The editor I know said either the author is speeding or taking way too long. Please advise as to how to make my story work within the 6 months duration and how to properly pace. For example: my story starts in January and the school dance is in February. I wrote 39 pages so far and I believe that I am only at day 4 still in January. With 42 pages written shouldn't I be at the school dance already thats in the month of February? or at least by the end of January? Is that right? or am I doing something wrong? Thanks and I hope I am explaining correctly, T.Swift
  • Yes Shannon thanks! I use bulleted points as plot scenes but I haven't actually labeled them. I just know what I want to happen in number order. I have to really think this through. I still honestly haven't decided who is the true antagonist!! I have two. I am going to write this down and add my plot scenes and this should work. :)

  • Thank you Michelle,

    I have to always remember Stephen Kings's advice, "omit needless words." Actually i think it's Strunk's lol So I have to remember that with scenes. If it doesn't move the story along take it out. I am definitely dragging. The funny thing was I thought it was so good. :-)

  • Pacing can be a challenge especially if you haven't planned, at least to some extent, your plot in advance. I'm guilty of that, but I've also learned that I have to plan. Do you know what your inciting incident is, the event that causes your protagonist to take action? Is that the dance? That should be on page one or as close to page one as you can make it, at least that was the advice I was given by an instructor at UW Madison this past fall. Then you should really have an idea of what you want your plot points to be.

    Your story should have a spine: 1. Inciting incident scene, 2. Plot Point I (scene with the protagonist's decision to take on his/her story), 3. Midpoint Crisis/Supreme Ordeal (Mimics the ending Climax; protagonist faces "death"), 4. Plot Point II (Scene with protagonist's final major decision, usually with gritty will to power through his or her flaw and fight a final battle), 5. Climax/Resolution (He or she deals with exhaustion, change, and new order. "Realizes" a lesson or truth.)

    All of those scenes should support your central story question. What is it that your character is trying to accomplish by June? Could you start the story later and compress time? That might help with your tendency to write day by day. Good luck with your work. Don't let anyone see your story too early either. That can kill your motivation. sometimes when we are just starting a story we don't know where we're going, so we have to over-write to figure out some things. Trust your process but be willing to "kill your darlings." I hope this helps.

  • Pacing is always an issue.  You really don't want to speed through scenes or drag them out.


    If you are going day by day you are most likely dragging it out.  Can your high school main character life really be so exciting that the reader needs to know what happens every single day?  The reader doesn't need to attend math class with MC unless something actually happens in it that moves the story along - if it doesn't move the story along it needs to go.  Unless an important conversation takes place during lunch the reader doesn't need to be sitting at the table with MC and friends.  Day by day events should be assumed by the reader: MC has homework, goes to the bathroom, eats meals, changes clothes.


    I hope that helps.