Pacing a storyline

by Candace

Question:What are some good strategies for pacing a storyline that covers 2 years?

Answer: Not the easiest question to answer, but here are some thoughts...

1. Out of that two-year timeline, only include the important events as scenes. By important events, I mean the events where significant changes happen -- either characters doing something significant, or coming to a significant internal change (decision, realization, attitude shift, etc.) Significant relationship changes count as well. By significant, I mean the event changes what characters do going forward.

2. With certain genres, the external plot is more important and you need a strong narrative drive to pull the reader along. Other genres are more concerned with a character's inner growth and relationships. Regardless the above advice applies equally to more internal stories. It's simply that the stepping stones will be internal changes rather than external.

3. Make use of the 8 basic plot elements ( Alternating between requirements and forewarnings, costs and dividends, prerequisites and preconditions is a good way to keep the story unpredictable and create an emotional roller coaster that sustains the reader's interest in finding out what will happen next.

4. Make sure the story structure is sound and builds to a proper crisis and resolution. I find the W-plot is the easiest model to help you stay focused on the next major turning point...

Best of luck,

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