Writing Exercises

Author Aerobics: Pacing Challenge

Here’s this week’s Author Aerobics challenge. Answers to the challenge will be posted on Friday. If you want to participate just post a link to your entry in the comments below and I’ll update this post with links to yours. Everyone’s welcome!


Pacing Challenge

Pacing describes how a writer manipulates the flow of time within a story. The pace controls how quickly or slowly the reader perceives the story is moving. In particular, novels require a variety in pacing to help maintain reader interest.

Slow pacing is good for emphasizing a point. It can allow you to set the stage. It can allow for character exposition. It can provide a much needed rest after several fast paced scenes. On the other hand, slowing down the pace in the middle of a fast sequence can also increase the tension in a story, and heighten drama.

Fast pacing gets the blood racing. It’s usually action packed and makes you turn the pages. Typically, pace increases until you reach the climax of the story.

Ideas on how to change the pace of a story:

  • Slower pace: use long sentences, stretch a single moment as long as possible, focus on the surrounding details, include narration or character introspection.
  • Faster pace: do not allow time for observation, use shorter sentences, describe many things happening simultaneously, focus on action.

This week’s challenge:  write a story (1000 words or less) that incorporates a variety in pacing. The theme for this week, “red”.

Hmm, come to think  of it, the past 3 weeks Author Aerobics themes have been Apple, Desire, and now Red. I think I sense a theme…


Those who tackled this week’s challenge:

Unt-Hoy Anmay by J.P. Cabit  – What in the world is going on here? An amusing tale. You figure it out. Pst! Don’t read the spoiler in the comments.
After the Quest is Done by Stephen Watkins – What happens when the dragon is slain and everyone goes home again? What if there’s no home to go back to?
Beckoning Quakes by Aidan Fritz – Two friends try to catch a glimpse of the perfect wave.
Red by T.S. Bazelli – Miss. Red Riding Hood has a secret.

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