Yes, I picked another tough topic! Pacing--the movement of your plot from beginning to end. You can have great pacing, where the reader absolutely can't put the book down because she can't find a slow part for stopping. Or you can have mediocre pacing, with sluggish scenes that don't move the story forward fast enough to keep the reader's interest.
While an action-packed romantic suspense or thriller lends itself to faster pacing by definition, you have to take advantage of the twists and turns to make it work. Use fewer drawn-out descriptions and focus on the suspense.
Typically, other genres need a little boost. Contemporary romance won't have the same tension a well-written RS has, but keeping the characters active and the plot moving forward can help maintain good flow. Remember backstory and info dumps??? Those slow down the pacing and give the reader opportunities to stop reading or lose interest.
Ways to create good pacing:
1) Keep your characters as active as possible. Don't allow them to spend much time thinking about things that have already happened. Avoid the cursed beginning-of-the-chapter recap.
2) Don't fall victim to backstory and/or info dumps. Ease tidbits of information into the story as needed--exposition!
3) Don't define pacing by action alone. Sexual tension, good opening and chapter-end hooks, and emotional ups and downs can produce a story that moves along at a steady pace.
4) Use your genre to help decide what good pacing means. It won't necessarily be the same for paranormal and historical.
5) Remember to use POV to your advantage. Show instead of tell. Use active rather than passive sentence structure. Be the character!
6) Avoid unnecessary description, movements, and dialogue.
7) Use tight writing, with minimal adjectives/adverbs and crutch words. Use contractions wherever possible.
8) Internal dialogue can draw the reader in and reveal important details about the character while keeping the pacing strong.
9) Keep GMC a vital part of characterization and the plot.
10) Use POV choice to create tension. Who has the most to lose in each scene?
Are you noticing how almost every part of writing craft ties into pacing? Actually, each aspect of craft overlaps with others. As one area improves, another will follow. The most important point is never stop trying to improve your craft. You didn't think I'd get all philosophical, did you??? :D
Let's take a look at genre definitions next week. Do you know what makes a paranormal a paranormal and not a contemporary or a historical?
Romance...With A Kick!