Problems with pacing can kill your book. Ever get halfway through reading a novel, put it down to do something else, and never pick it up again? That probably had something to do with the pacing. You want to create the desire in your readers and render them incapable of closing your book until they finish that last chapter.

It was recently pointed out to me that I had some pacing issues in the first few chapters of TOPAZ. I had some scenes where little happened to move the story forward, or where my heroine was acting passively instead of taking charge, or which had repetitive actions.

As all authors know, it's often difficult to evaluate your writing objectively, but for fixing pacing issues, it's essential. Here is the plan of attack I used. As always, your mileage may vary.
  1. I started by reading through the problem chapters and jotting down a list of events, minor and major.
  2. With the list complete, I highlighted the essential events, the ones that were absolutely necessary to the development of the story.
  3. Next, I reviewed the list to identify patterns of repetitive actions, or areas where there were few actions. For example, I had two phone conversations in a row. Definite pace killer.
  4. Then I asked myself some questions. Did the heroine need to meet up with the hero three times, or would one meeting suffice? What would happen if I moved this essential event up half a chapter? What if I changed this four-page-long in-person meeting to a half-page phone conversation?
  5. And...the rewriting commenced.
One of the things I've realized I need to watch for during my revision is ensuring that each scene has a point, a hook, something to propel the reader on to the next scene. As a pantser, I don't plan my scenes, so it's far too easy to have scenes that have no point.

Happy writing!