Pacing a Novel

Ever been in the rewrite phase of your novel and think “who would ever read this shit” while you bang your head repeatedly on your desk?

^Me… right now.

Over the course of the last several years I’ve discovered that my writing (when I’m laying down the first pass) has a couple major flaws:

  1. I’m a repeating Randy. Yes, I admit it. I just drop words and have a horrible knack of using the same ones over and over – sometimes even in the same sentence.
  2. I get bored writing my own scenes (even if they’re necessary). At that point I stop, write a couple notes, then go “skip!”
  3. I absolutely suck at pacing.

The first two I can live with since everything gets rewritten anyways. The last? Not so much. So many stories I’ve read in the past fall down on this issue so I know I’m not alone. *cough*(Sphere by Michael Crichton – I’m sorry, the whole beginning is a cure for insomnia. However, if you can trudge through the first portion, the book is one you simply can’t put down. Once they go underwater, the whole thing is a stellar win)*cough*

I’ve done a bit of research on this subject, and finally found an article by Gloria Kempton that really laid it out plain:

@Gloria – Thank you!

Currently I’m working on a novel called Secrets of Sgådnor, and the pacing is killing me. So I’ve decided to take the above article a step further and lay out a system that hopefully will help me get all my ducks in a row.

Three elements:

  • Action (1)
  • Narrative (2)
  • Dialogue (3)

Each assigned a numerical value, with the number 6 being the obvious blending of the three. My goal is to finish this rewrite so everything is back in order, then go through each chapter and assign it a numerical value based on the above. Simple mathematics right?

May I be smote upon the mountain for turning artistry into a mathematical equation.

My hope is that I can look at the numbers as a string of logic and see where my novel is suffering – i.e.too fast, too slow, etc and use these to help balance it all out for an even flow before I start the final rewrite/edit stage.

It sounds simple enough, but I have a feeling that in a few weeks I’ll be right back to banging my head against the desk again and wondering who would ever read such a load of crap.