Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pace Maker

You’re a pace maker. I’m a pace maker. We are all pace makers. If you write fiction you establish a pace for your novel. The objective of this post is to help you understand which pace is the way you roll:

Hopefully you don’t fall in this category. You know the plot that goes nowhere. The big, the bad, and the flat out boring. Long descriptive details and a wandering storyline are sure to be identifiers of the tortoise pace maker. However, there are times when you need to pace make like a tortoise and slow it down some. Descriptions, action details, thoughts, and longer stretches of dialogue can work well for your shelled self (as long as you learn to pick up the pace when it’s called for).

Tom & Jerry
You bring it…the tension that is. Just as Tom & Jerry are famous for fighting, throughout your novel you keep the conflict strong. Sensitive not to leave your readers exhausted and in need of an actual pacemaker when you write prickly stress-inducing scenes, you pay attention to when a good make up scene is necessary.

Road Runner
(I debated also writing Speedy Gonzales for this one. He’s another favorite… I watched a lot of TV as a kid.) You zip from scene to scene, leaving readers breathless to find out what will happen next. Dialogue moves your book along, well-timed dialogue that doesn’t move so fast your readers are bereft of grounding.

You keep up with trends. You know the market. You’re careful (especially if you write commercial fiction) to tackle relatable plots. You’re intentional about pacing according to present day expectations. No lengthy weather descriptors to kick off your first few pages or overwhelming setting details. You move right along with the help of Fred’s two feet.

Swiper the Fox (from Dora)
You’re an expert at stealing a scene. You swipe it with a surprising twist or a heart-clutching secret revealed. You’re fast. You’re sneaky and your novels will sell (or are selling) like crazy. I’m thinking you’re a mystery pace maker.

Bounce-er-ific. Hoo. Hoo. Hoo. You like to use shorter sentences when you want to speed things along nicely. You’ve got the moves down. And you are known for your moves. Skilled with mastering upbeat, inspirational plots, you encourage readers to follow your pace as it bounces right along.

"Writing simply means no dependent clauses, no dangling things, no flashbacks, and keeping the subject near the predicate. We throw in as many fresh words we can get away with. Simple, short sentences don't always work. You have to do tricks with pacing, alternate long sentences with short, to keep it vital and alive...Virtually every page is a cliffhanger—you've got to force them to turn it." ~ Dr. Seuss

What kind of pace maker are you?

*photos from Flickr


Joanne Sher said...

What a fun post (love Speedy Gonzalez too LOL). I think I was "turtling" was too much earlier - working on getting my "Swiper" on ;)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Love that Dr. Seuss quote! And I love your creative choices for different types of pacing. I tend to use a lot of dialogue to speed up the plot. I think one thing I could us to better effect is shorter sentences to increase pace.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Fun post, Wendy! I loved the different descriptors for pace making in writing. I don't know that I've mastered any of the categories yet (hopefully, I'm not the tortoise!), but I think I'm closest to Tigger right now. Thanks for the thoughts!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Wow, what a creative post! I wanna be a Tigger...hoo hoo hoo...with a bit of Swiper mixed in. ;)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

What a fun blog post! I tried to spread the word on Twitter.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Joanne, I love that..."working on getting my Swiper on." We need to meet someday!

Julia, I appreciated the Dr.'s quote too. I went nuts with dialogue in my fourth novel. Made it a fast read though.

Jeanne, Tigger is so much fun! Cool that you most identify with that one. Glad you played. These are the wild things my mind comes up with. Still looking for an OFF button or at least a slow motion one.

Sherrinda, See, Swiper needed some props. He finally gets to be considered good in some way. :D Fun combo you selected.

Kathi, Very cool. I sometimes don't know who tweets what. I appreciate the word spreading. I had fun writing it.

~ Wendy

Ralene said...

I think I'm a Tom & Jerry, but I'd like to work up to having more of a Swiper in there.

Great post, Wendy. I love your choices! While I like Speedy, the Road Runner was always my fav of the two. :)

Sarah Forgrave said...

Wow, Great quote! I had no idea Dr. Seuss had that kind of deep thought in him, in between writing about the cat in the hat who rhymes like that.

I think I might be a Flintstone since I'm writing stuff in a genre that's "hot" right now, but boy would I love to be Road Runner if it meant I could crank out the last two-thirds of my draft in the next month. LOL

Beth K. Vogt said...

What a fun post. I love Tigger . . . but am I a Tigger-writer? I dunno . . .

Pepper said...

LOVE this post!!!
Oh what fun!

One question (beside the turtle) what sort of cartoon character would we be if we had all those wonderful characteristics - except extremely confused. :-)

WOW! I think of some of my fav authors and they bounce-it, meep-meep it, swipe it, and yabadabadoo-it.

Hmmm, so can I answer the question which one do I WANT to be versus which one I am? Cuz I'm not sure which one I am.
Gonna have to read it again and reevaluate :-)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Ralene, Meep Meep. Zoom. Yeah, I was a Woody Woodpecker fan. Heh heh heh heh he. :D

Sarah, Yeah for your "hot" genre! You go girl! (Did I really just write that?) And fun we've got a yabadabadoo in the mix.

Beth, Thanks for the RT. I so want to meet you in person someday. Tigger rocks!

Pepper, Officially...yes. You may answer however you'd like to. I'm not a rules keeper. I think it would be to be a little of each. Heck, sometimes I plain feel like a turtle. Okay, that's another thought for another time.

Thanks again for playing and having fun with me today.

Love to laugh with you!
~ Wendy

Angie Dicken said...

Great post! My writing has developed so much in the last year, I am thinking someone would have called me a tortoise back then, but now my current wip is morphing into a Tom and Jerry...I think. :)

Pepper, I think all of them would be the Genie from Aladdin...didn't he always change for the appropriate mood? :)

Pepper said...

I want to be a giant blue genie with a great sense of humor and sounds.
Yep! :-)
Hmmm, not sure that the living quarters will be conducive for creativity though :-)