[Q&A] Story Pacing – how close together can important plot points be?

This post’s Q&A is on story pacing and took place over on Twitter.

 

How fast/close together can plot/bad things happen? Pacing-wise, should there be downtime space between events?

Dvorah

 

Answer

 

Where scenes are positioned has to depend on the types of scenes, their purpose (the result of those scenes for the characters and their world) and if the story is fast-paced throughout. If the scenes are needed right where they are then good – you don’t need to move them around. Adding filler between two scenes can irritate your reader, especially if nothing happens.

If you really feel there should be something to split up two fast-paced scenes, consider what will make sense and what will happen between those scenes and why. For example, a travel scene between them (like in the Q&A conversation) would simply derail the story without something else happening to affect the character, conflict or stakes.

A good way to figure out if you should separate them or edit the current pacing is by asking yourself during structural edits: does it help my character grow, does it grow or complicate the story’s conflict and does it make the stakes higher?

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