How Important Is Pacing?

Pacing needs to be just right, there is something that we cannot deny. I have read and dropped many books due to poor pacing, such as reveals happening too late in the story or something. Which tells me that pacing is important.

The right kind of pacing does depend on the story. Here are some questions which I think can help with deciding the pace you’re moving at. And to decide whether a story might need revision.

#1 Is There Breathing Space?

It is extremely important for many books, you cannot have too many reveals at one go. Have a moment where the reader can take a break from the non stop action. There are plenty of ways to make the breathing space seem less like fluff, but ensure that there is enough space so that it does not overwhelm the reader.

#2 Is something happening?

Usually this applies to a book around the first half, since I have read books that seemed to have zero plot movement for the first half or moves at a snail’s pace. And then, there are authors who save everything for the last book in a series, creating what everyone calls middle book syndrome where almost nothing happens but setting things up.

Pacing doesn’t need to be fast, but it must be able to move and reveal certain things about the character or perhaps a certain development. Something has to happen otherwise why is it even a book if the main characters do not go through a journey.

#3 Are all the characters still the same?

For me, character development need not always be good. And also, they need not to have grown, but something must be revealed about them and changes them. It doesn’t always have to be their personality, perhaps their attitude towards a certain issue. Or perhaps their perspective.

Or if you tend to write characters who don’t grow but have plenty of depth, and different aspects to his character that just need time to be revealed.

If your character at the beginning is still the same person, without anything that gives them more depth, then I will say that it may need some work.

So overall, this is how I judge pacing of a story. However, do tell if you have another opinion.


How I Do Foreshadowing?

On this topic, it has become a favourite of mine to write about. Why? Because I love to foreshadow, it seems as though certain aspects of a character being suggested from the very beginning was my favourite. Be it whether it was through a short one sentence description. But I prefer it to useless details which take up space. 

Foreshadowing can be about major plot points or developments, it also develops a character. Not every character shows their true self or feelings the first time we meet them, they always end up revealing more or hiding something. And this is why I like foreshadowing and symbolism, it makes some of the apparently useless description to becoming an important clue. 

Mannerisms, speech patterns, dressing. It tells a lot about the characters just from that one paragraph, and hence I prefer to use details to foreshadow. Or certain behaviours when they are put into an uncomfortable situation too. And it makes all those descriptions seem less like a waste of space, or the sagging middle to be nothing but filler. 

Esspecially when you are handling a mysterious main character, where I choose not to reveal some details of his life but keep it hidden. Because it isn’t relevant just yet, but will become relevant eventually. 

Foreshadowing can be used well, if it has a reason. Either a twist or a possible reveal, and the joy is that a reader can go back and say, I should have noticed it earlier. But how successful it is, it would depend on your skill or how unexpected your twist is. 

But generally, here are my tips for foreshadowing: 

#1 Be Subtle 

Can’t stress how this important this is, you do not want the reader to know am I right? Or make it too obvious? Make is subtle, hidden away but it’s there should there be any need. Just a little bit is enough, don’t hint too much or the chances of the reader figuring it out before it comes will be high.

#2 Using A Red Herring 

We all know what a red herring is, it is a seemingly important detail that isn’t important meant to throw the reader off. It can be employed when it calls for it, but at the same time hint it that it is also likely that the red herring isn’t all that important throughout and when it is revealed, it becomes possible and readers realise that from start to finish the hints of the most important clue were there but the ones which was in extremely important light was not. 

#3 Make everything relevant 

It is very important to know that all clues should serve a purpose, perhaps to push the protagonist and having them to find an even more important clue. Throwing the readers off, or even in fact being the bridge to how it would make sense. And this is important, as everything must have its place in a book and nothing should become utterly irrelevant. 

This is generally what I view foreshadowing must have. If you have anything to add, please tell me below if I haven’t covered everything.  

Writing A Healthy Romance 

I would say that writing a healthy romance takes a lot of work. And sometimes a lot of skill too. To me, a healthy romance means that the characters should not be subjected to abuse with their beloved. That is just warped. 

Both sides should also fully respect and accept one another for their faults and their wishes. No one has to change completely to accommodate to someone else’s needs. Or one has to be the one always apologizing. Eventually, their relationship will break apart as it is unhealthy and wouldn’t be good to either side. 

Romance and love to me includes a lot of give and take and compromises. That is what love is to me. Not just having pure adoration or admiration. Let face it, admiring someone is placing them on a pedestal and being perfect. And no one is perfect. Admiration is not a good form of love, it can become an obsession or something unhealthy. It isn’t a good thing at all. 

So, the best kind of love is mutual respect and trust. They need to accept wholly the person before them, not just because he is hot so I will love him. That is a horrible reason to fall in love. Sadly, it is how most romances in young adult novels goes. It is just too shallow, and not about personality traits but about looks. Looks would fade, but the personality would never change. That’s the reality. 

So, to me a healthy romance can be quick or slow but just depends on how it is handled here. That’s all I would say about their development, even though I pretty much prefer a slower development of things. It allows a better exploration of how well a fit they are for each other and whether they will be able to live with each other or not. 

Because love isn’t shallow, it needs a lot of depth too. These characters are spending their lives and their years together, I would prefer to see a good healthy ending. Where both are able to accept each other for their faults and their weaknesses as much as for their strengths. 

These are what I would consider a part of a healthy romance. Feel free to leave a comment on what you think would be a healthy romance and what isn’t. I really look forward to knowing what you think. 

On Worldbuilding

To me, this is as important as making characters itself. How your world is structured would make your characters, it would show what kind of society they grew up in, the kind of beliefs they were raised in. And to me, it is important. 

Some writers treat this as a character itself, to me it is an interesting perspective to see. That the world is intricate and hard to define in one sentence, it basically sums up our world. Where there are so many things which are so simple yet so complex, there are completely different explanations for children and adults. Just like morality, Jo answer is completely right, and most of the time it comes in shades of grey. 

To me, history plays an integral part in shaping my world. It tells me that to make a believable world, I need to show the history having its own merits and faults, and how the world is flawed itself. If the world was perfect, it would be called an utopia rather than what it is. And writing utopian works; they are simply hard to pull off. How do you write a work of an utopian world, a dystopia would work far better. 

To me, it is also figuring out how the world would impact the characters and what sort of characters might come out of it. Especially in long sagas about fantasy, the world plays a large part in making characters who they are or what they believe. Such as whether it’s a patriarchal society or matriarchal society, whether both genders are treated equally, whether they respect power and authority. It all plays a part in making the characters. 

With the world set, possible back stories can be made with the context of the world itself, and hence making the character even more believable with the environment they have grew up with and the sort of life they had lived. As long as the world is developed enough to justify the personality of the character and also how it happens to them. 

To me, worldbuilding can also be a fascinating topic. I once did a note on nothing but earrings, but they were quite an important way to show their status in my book, as such the development was necessary to me. For me, worldbuilding is about as much as the important beliefs, traditions, more than miniscule details which might matter little. For me, focus on what is important in the world. And don’t be afraid to use the real world as an inspiration and helping you to figure out some details and also use objects as a way of symbolism. That to me, has always been one which I loved to use in my books if I could find an appropriate form to use it. 

Worldbuilding can be fun, and also sometimes just let yourself loose and surf the net. I always end up surprised what I end up searching, the history of the world is basically your best friend here. There are plenty of interesting facts about the world waiting to be discovered in fact. 

As for those who didn’t worldbuilding daunting, just stop trying to fill your notes with words and details that might matter little, more on what is important and vital to the story for it to feel realistic. And also, leave it alone until you feel as though you want to add something. Mine are still sparse till this day but I keep in mind on what I develop and write in the actual document itself.  

The Benefits Of Planning 

Many authors don’t plan, and not saying they are wrong. But for me, planning works so well for a reason, it’s because it saves a me a lot of time since I already know where the story is heading. 

And planning can be as detailed as an outline, or as loose as just a couple of sentences jumbled together. But it is a plan, that tells the author what he needs to do next. Rather than waste time just wondering what the next chapter should be about, or facing the blank screen. It saves me a lot of time. 

This method is really for those who have little time to waste each day, or simply want to write faster. Planning helps me focus more, rather than think about raw creativity and the importance of writing the first draft as a vomit draft. 

You also won’t write yourself into a corner and have no way out, that happened to me before where I simply couldn’t write anything else because there was no way for me to write out of it. And it can be a stumbling block. And planning saves you since you identify such problems before you really have no idea where to go. 

It also helps you come closer to a better novel, and means less editing work and less revisions. As you don’t need to spend so much time on the plot or the research, since you are doing it as you go. Or having to add characters, add elements which would add to the story, or the worldbuilding because there was little details about it. And it most definitely helps to see where foreshadowing can be included in subtle ways. 

And also, it isn’t something that you have to completely stick to. If it doesn’t work at a certain point, you can disregard what you have planned before and just move it to the direction you are bringing it into. And I have done that, once I got to a certain point I discarded some plans because other ideas work far better. 

As such planning works for some but not really for all, I simply do it because it’s more efficient for me. Good writing comes to me once I know what to write about, and not just facing a blank page. And chances are, what you have written there would mostly stay rather than having plenty to be cut because it simply has no meaning in the story. 

But those without a plan might do so because it gives them excitement, it is quite exhilarating to have no idea where a story would head. However for me, I just choose because it is just frustrating to have no idea where to go next and having to set it aside because of that. 

But it is entirely up to you to decide whether to plan or to just write with no end in mind. 

What do think of planning? How far would you plan? Please leave your input below. 

Having Doubts On The Story

I have rewritten a book many many times, the moment where I didn’t like where the story was heading. Or it simply didn’t make sense anymore.. Even if I have wasted a lot of time on the first couple of drafts. But I feel it’s a necessity. 

As a horrible story that doesn’t seem to have anywhere for development can be very very difficult. And in such cases, maybe putting it on the side can help. I have a novel like this, which is still lying on the side, I just have no idea where it would go. 

But it was from when I started novels just solely based on an idea, with little plot, or much about characters. And little ability to handle them as well, all the while I scratched my head as to where it was going. 

And if you’re at this stage, try to find a coherent scene of events which is also  logical in the characters viewpoint. If not, maybe go back to the drawing board and rethinking the idea. 

So, if you think your story is going nowhere, think it carefully. What is the plot? How is your characters? Do you think that it’s really heading nowhere? Do you think another perspective would help?

In the mad rush of trying to finish a novel, I ended up wasting a lot of time. On hindsight that novel had not been such a great idea, just about a group being asked to get a book. I mean, could the motive get any worse. There was little agency on the characters itself, apart from some simple motives, I also failed to delve deeper into their mindsets and how it is developed. 

I just wrote everything in the surface and after the book itself had little idea where it would even head next. And that was an issue which I knew was present yet I refused to address, until of course a great idea came down which I planned so I know where it would lead me to next. 

Ultimately, finishing something became an issue. Because I know the story and plot was horrible from around the early middle, yet I almost finished it thinking maybe I could solve all the problems when in careful thought I should have just conserved my time and thought about it.

So, sometimes when you have doubts, listen to them. Try and see what drove you to write that novel, go down deeper into the characters mind. Perhaps you might have just saved some time unlike me. 

New Year’s Goals 

Happy New year to you all, and here are my goals for the entire year. What will I be focusing on this year, and what are my goals would be: 

This year would be a hard year for me, seeing that I have a major national exam sitting at the end. But I will still be online, just not as much as I would like. Expect at least one to two posts a week, I can’t manage daily posts. 

Reading wise, I will try and finish 40 books this year, seeing that I have a lot on my plate and to finish this year, and it won’t be easy either. So, I’ll try to complete 40 books over the year itself. 

As for books which I am sinking in anticipation this year, I would list all of them in another post. 

Although I did just borrow nearly six books at the end of last year, and not exactly the best choice. 

As for writing, I will be slowing down a little, and on Wattpad spread out updates to once in a fortnight and only one book with weekly updates. So, what are my goals then. 

Finish Hidden Within Dawn: 

Most likely my goal for this year, and to start editing slightly for it. And for once if I do, it will be the first draft which I have seen to the end. The others, it was almost to the end. Almost. 

Start a new book: 

A project that I did want to write, just a Wuxia novel that is pushed fully to high fantasy. It’s going to be quite some fun for this book. 

Reach the halfway mark for book of mystics: 

Going to be a little difficult but will try it out, since I update once a fortnight for this book. But I do have the solid plan and outline for this book, and finished it last year. 

What about you? What are your goals for the new year? Please leave your input, as I’m curious as to what you have to say.