Winning The Race

As you can see, I’ve changed my blog into a website with a blog component.  I did so to facilitate sales of my books now that Spirit Legend is out there and selling.  Feel free to check out the page Florence’s Books that leads you to the buy links of both Amazon and Smashwords if you want to see what the old lady’s writing is like.

But, not to worry, I’ll still post with tips on writing fiction.  Not as often as previously because there are only so many tips I’ve learned over the years.  But they’ll still come.  Which leads to today’s tip:  Pacing.

I’ve read a lot of books lately because their authors’ asked me to review them.  For the most part, they were good books and well written.  But, with the exception of two of them, the pacing could have been improved.

They weren’t jagged.  They weren’t abrupt.  They simply kept the same pace throughout the book.  And that was their mistake.

Because writing fiction is like running a race.  A long race if it’s a book because, in the case of stories, novels are equivalent to distance races.  (If you are interested, my book Wanted Sharpshooter is about distance races for horses, something one of my daughters is involved in that I find fascinating.)

Anyway, in distance races, the runners start out slow and careful, conserving their energy and learning all they can about the race itself.  Who’s in it, what they are like, what the course is like.  Everything.  And they stay that way until they know the finish line is getting close.  Then they speed up.  They pay less attention to the other runners and the course itself in order to concentrate their efforts on running faster.  On sprinting to the finish line.

Writing fiction is like that.  The closer you get to the end of the book, the faster the pace of writing should be.  Forget those long conversations among characters that, in the beginning, were both wonderful and provided insights into the characters and the story.  Forget the descriptions that go on and on and on, no matter that the setting is incomparable and essential to the characters getting where they need to be.

Instead, write tight as you approach that finish line.  Eliminate everything except that sprint to the finish.   Because the reader now should know the essential details about the characters and the story and should be caught up in the action and shouldn’t be distracted by any unnecessary words.  Or sentences.  Or paragraphs.  Those details that are necessary should be provided in capsule form.  In as few words as possible.  So the reader doesn’t wish the writer would stop leading them through fields of unnecessary prose and would get them to the finish line in the shortest time.

So they can win the race.

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