Writing Prompt: Speed Up/Slow Down

Setting the pace in a story can be tricky. Often writers run through scenes too quickly, omitting details, characterisation, and movements that can help shape the narrative. Other times, I’ve slowly dragged myself through the agonising descriptions that writers force upon us. Detail that goes on and on making the piece feel like a slow death of a thousand cuts.

Finding the right balance can make the difference between someone trying to read your book or story over and over again and finally giving up and getting a work that engages the reader so that they don’t want to put it down.

Try this: Write a scene that requires the main character to get from point A to point B quickly. Give them purpose, conflict and set the scene. Write it in no more than 500 words. Next, take the same situation and slow it right down. Describe everything in great details. What is the main character thinking, why are they doing what they’re doing. Don’t remove them from the place they are, just give them the intent. Keep them there for 500 words. Compare the two pieces of writing. How much of the description is expendable and how much do you need to keep the character interesting enough to stick with. Have fun. Good luck.

Quote for the day

I can’t help but to write, I have a inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down.

-Kaari Utrio

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