Novel Writing Blueprint-Pacing Your Story | Susan Palmquist | Skillshare

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Novel Writing Blueprint-Pacing Your Story

teacher avatar Susan Palmquist, Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. FictionPacingJuneIntro

    • 2. Fictionpacingjunelessonone

    • 3. Fictionpacingjunelessontwo

    • 4. Fictionpacingjunelessonthree

    • 5. Fictionjunepacingwrapup

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About This Class

This is a standalone class but it's also part of my year long Novel Writing Blueprint series. In this class you'll learn all about how to pace your story correctly. One major reason for an editor or agent rejecting your story can be due to either too fast of a pace or painfully slow pacing. I'll show you the common reasons for both and what you can do to correct them.

Meet Your Teacher

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Susan Palmquist

Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru



I’m Susan Palmquist and for the last 20 years I’ve been an author, freelance writer, editor, blogger, teacher and tutor, (and before that I was a publicist).

It feels like I’ve squeezed a lot into two decades and it’s my tips and experience that I’ve learned along the way that I’m now happy to share with you here at Skillshare.

I’d like to show you how you too can write for fun or even for a living whether it be fiction or non-fiction.

Getting published wasn’t easy for me but I’m now the author, (under my own name and pen name Vanessa Devereaux), of 100 plus books and counting. There’s nothing I love more than helping others do the same thing.

I have my own coaching and critiquing business... See full profile

Related Skills

Writing Creative

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1. FictionPacingJuneIntro: Hello, My name? Susan Palmquist. Welcome to the fiction writing blueprint course. This is a lesson six. In my year long fiction writing class, this particular one is on pacing. You don't need to take all of the classes. Each one is a standalone class, but I think you'll get more from them if you take them as a whole. Ah, so far we've covered getting ready to write, plotting, creating characters. Readers will love finding the right point of view in your story. On last month we tackle Dar Log, and this month we're going to deal with pacing on Pacing is basically how fast or slow your story reads, and you might not think that pacing is so essential to a great story. But it really could break or make a story. And it's one source off a dreaded rejection letter. Lots of times, myself included. I've had rejection letters saying, You know your placings too fast. I've heard of some writers that get rejection letters because they're pacing is too slow. So it's really vital. Teoh every good story. And that's why I thought I dedicate listen specifically to it and I'll be covering things like you know what actually is slow and fast pasting. What causes it on how we can correct. It's very, very simple, easy writing fix. So let's dive into Lesson one. And I'm going to cover White so fatal to out the wrong pacing in the story. So I'll see you then. 2. Fictionpacingjunelessonone: Hello and welcome back. And here we are at less than one, which I've titled. Why the wrong paces? Fatal. And it really is fatal because most of the time you know, before your reader gets the experience, your story has to go through an editor or an agent, depending on which, while you're going, Teoh approached publishing on DA wrong pace, and it's sometimes the reason for a rejection. I'm not saying that they're going to reject, you know, wonderful story. Pacing is something that on in House editor could deal with. But being that this is such a competitive business, I think you want to hit all the right notes first time out. So they think this is a fantastic story. Will heart hardly have to do any work on it? You know, we're gonna offer this writer a contract, so I believe in getting everything right. And that's what you know. This yearlong course is about Andi. That's why particularly, um, focused on pacing because I have seen great stories ruined by the wrong pacing. I'm basically pacing is just the speed at which your story reads sometimes and you move experience. That's something I've read novels and I don't think it's just because I've enjoyed them on , you know, they've been page turners, but I've sat down to read a novel and, you know, finished the whole thing in two hours. And like I just said, I don't think it's because I enjoyed it and wanted to stick with it. The pacing waas on the far side. It didn't ruin it, but you know, it could have done had it gone on to to quickly form a on. You know, people buy books, they spend money on books and it's, ah, escapism. And I think you want Teoh enjoy something forest, long as you can on. I like to think of it as, Ah, this is often what I tell my my students. It's like a gourmet meal. You know, you sit down to enjoy four courses and sexually off. Sorry, I've only got five minutes to enjoy all this wonderful food that this top chef is prepared for you and you. You miss something you lose out on the experience on it's the same with the story. If you give your reader to faster pacing, they gallop through it and they don't get to experience the plot, The wonderful characters that you've grated on DA You know, you're only given half of the experience. And on the other side of the coin, when you've got the slow pacing, I don't know whether you've, uh, required a few short stories and sometimes I think, Well, these air really dragging on, you know, I should have been up to read them in 15 minutes. It's because they they kind of get bogged down with too much duration, too much description. Or maybe they go off on tangents. Maybe they go off on another fatal thing called the Information dump. I'm there again it brewin. See what could have been a wonderful experience you've created these characters is storyline on you want everything to kind of blend together and just meshed together and be a wonderful experience on sometimes a reader, especially with slow pacing. I think more than fast pacing, the reader gives up and never returns to your story on If you're published, maybe they'll never return to you as an author, which is something else. You you never want to happen. So hope really. I've given you an idea of why Wrong Pacenti So fatal why I place such an emphasis on it and of dedicated one class to this element of the novel writing process. So in the next lesson, I'm going to tell you some of the major causes off wrong pacing, and then we'll get into how you can fix it, so I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. Fictionpacingjunelessontwo: Hello and welcome back. I'm We're here. At lesson to on this is all about the major causes off pacing problems, the 1st 1 I'll deal with. And this is connected with slow pacing. And it's usually because you've got too much generation and description. Some people like Teoh kind of give travel logs and maybe they go off on tangents on you know what? The weather, the clouds, it was gonna rain. And there's nothing wrong with that. You need that in the story. You need that balance. But don't let it go on for pages and pages. And you know nothing else. No inner thoughts, No dialogue, because that can really slow it down. I'm sure you've You've seen passages off descriptive things and it takes you longer to actually read them. You know, you can always check the out. Go through. Ah, book. What you see? Well, they say you don't see what paid spaces on the page on that. Usually were it generational description heavy on time. How long it takes you to read that versus a page with dialogue and you'll see the difference there and on the other side of the coin. If you've got really fast pacing and this was my problem. Ah, I'm a vory dialogue heavy writer, and, um, if you followed the last lesson on dialogue, um, I've kind of that's one of my strength. It's something I love to do. And in my early career I relied so much on dialogue to tell my story. And I didn't realize that, you know, I was doing that until one of my books was accepted and, you know, met with the editor. We went back and falls and she said, You've got what's known as White Room syndrome and I'm thinking White room syndrome on, You know, could you explain that to May? And it's because I had all dialogue and nothing else. And she said, It's like putting a reader into a white room, white walls, white ceiling. You know what comes? There's nothing else there. Just hearing Dar log and there's no interaction between characters, no inner thoughts, and it's like being trapped in a white room. And it wasn't until she told me that and pointed out that I was a Darla heavy writer, that I realized that, you know, some of my rejections could extend for that and also that it speeded up the pacing and, you know, maybe some editors publishers were, you know, too polite to say all this this, you know, reads like I'm trapped in a white room, so that could be one of the problems. If you've got to faster pacing in your story that, like me, you put too much dialogue in there, Another reason for, um, kind of, ah, quick pacing. And and this is related to plotting to on I've had a lot of student tell me that they intended to write a 70,000 word story, and after they first dropped, there are while I've got a 20,000 word story here. What happened? And I read this story. I don't know exactly what happened there. The kind of, um, rush through it. They haven't gone into detail of the story, and it's almost like they haven't thought out their plot that just like, you know, so and so when here. Then he drove here than he went over here. And there's nothing to experience is a very bland story. And you're gonna get fast placing and you're not going to get to your word camp. So I advise you to really think about the plot, And can your plot go the distant? This is where you know, the whole process starts toe to fit together. And, ah, a lot of times this is the the next major calls that I see. It's all telling and not showing. They told me the story. They haven't shown me the story, and there's a big difference. And this, too, will get you. Ah, rejection. I think faster than anything else. Um, you haven't gone into detail. Two characters are talking and that's it. There's no inner thoughts. Like, if someone says something to you, you are going to react to it. You're either going to react verbally or you're going to react inwardly emotionally, you know, to whatever that person said on the for the little things that you need to at two story toe at the liars that, like a beautiful on emotionally, um, you know, story. So these are some of the things I see more, actually, fast pacing than I do. Slow pacing. So maybe that's more of a problem of the beginning. Writer, I know it was for May, but I have also seen, you know, plots That kind of drag on Onda pacing is painfully slow. So they're the major causes of the problems. And in the next lesson, I'm gonna tell you how you can fix it. And they really are easy fixes. So I'll see you then. 4. Fictionpacingjunelessonthree: hello and welcome back. And in the last lesson, I told you, some of the court is off pacing problems. And now I'm going to tell you about the fixes. And as I said, they really are easy ones on. What I suggest you do is when you finish your first draw off that you get a time a and you read it out loud. I know it's going to take you a long time or, you know, it sounds like all this is this is a tedious process, but really especially when you are a beginning writer. You might not have to do this for, you know, later books. But your first book Get a feel for the time that your story reads and you know, don't don't obsess over it, but kind of get a feel. Did it read in an hour? Two hours? And another thing is you. So you kind of do two things at once because you're getting a feel for how it sounds and maybe have dialogue sounds. And it picks up a lot of problems, too. So it's a great excise duty, and not just for the pacing element. Now I always think that second drafts of where you deal with most of the problems. I know people, especially when you're beginning, right? You want to get a perfect first draw on. You know that very seldom happens, and sometimes that's when people stop because they feel all this is harder than I saw. But the second draft is where we fix all the issues and there will be issues. You know, I've been writing for, you know, 20 plus years on DA got lots of experience and I still car get it right, the first draft on. So I'm sure there's a lot of other publisher right is it will tell you the same thing. Your second draft is where where we deal with everything. Now what I want you to look for in your second draft is places where you might be telling and not showing. And this is going to, you know, speed up your how your story read. So maybe, like I mentioned in the previous listen, you've got two characters. They're talking to one another dunk. Just have them talk to another, be the character and see how they react to what someone said. Has someone revealed something you know, they've told a secret that no one ever knew. How would you react to it? You'd have some thought about it. You might even say, Well, you know, that's terrible. I didn't know that you did this mobile. So always have, like, action and reaction on DA, you know, describe what they're feeling, what they're seeing on that can really help the equal up to the pacing. I think that's a really good thing, um, to watch out for and it makes your story that much better, too. So you're dealing with two things that want and where you've got dialogue. Heavy pieces add more description on aeration. That's another thing you can do. Uh, you know, I'm not a big fan of people that go off onto tangents about the back story or, you know what's going on outside the weather wise. But it might be something that, you know, Saddam character said something and they remember something from the past and dunk dump loads of information and there. But you could say, Oh, yeah, I remember when that happened. Or maybe the characters thinking about all this reminds me when this happened to me before and there again. You get that emotional elements. So you're really adding more lions here? Ah, like a to go more heavy on internal thoughts that can really, um, college slow false pacing. That's great for doing that and you can't go wrong. I don't think you know, some writers might disagree with me, but I don't think you can have too many internal thoughts in a story because it helps your reader connect with that character. And if you, uh, taken my cloths on the characters, you'll know that that's what I really, really kind of try and get over to you that you need to get into a character's head So you get that emotional attachment that the reader needs to read on to turn the pages. Onda, um, if you've got really slow pacing and I don't think this is gonna be a problem for a lot of you. But if you do, just cut out some of the narration and description on and you know it's fairly easy to do on the second draft. Go through. And maybe you know your characters better by then, so you you might naturally be in their head or you may have another soul on the plot on, um, it's a great way to kind of, ah, you know, cut the excess out your story and that will speed up the pacing. Well, that's it. Basically for the problems and easy fixes on in the next lesson, I'm going to do a wrap of everything we've covered and tell you what's coming next month in the fiction writing blueprint cost. So I'll see you then. 5. Fictionjunepacingwrapup: Hello and welcome to the wrap up off this pacing class. And thank you for joining May um, we've covered something that I feel is vital. Teoh, You know, maybe the difference between getting a rejection for your story and getting a contract or at least getting an editor or agent interested. And we've covered Ah, what pacing is. And, uh, you know, most of the problems and the easy fixes, and it really isn't easy fix. It's it's not something. But, you know, if you are told you've got slower force pacing, don't despair too much because there are a lot of you can do and definitely try the fixes and see where you're at. So your class project is to test the pacing of your story, read it out loud and on and get a time and see how it's reading. See where you can maybe, you know, fix little issues. And if you have any questions, please. I'm here to help you in any way. I can always say that I love helping aspiring writers and getting you on the road to publication. So reach out on DA, you know, get back to you as soon as I can. And be sure to hit the follow button so you can get notified when I upload the next class. Or be uploading some other writing classes in the next couple of months, too. So make sure you hit the follow button and let's see what is next. Well, we're slowly building along the elements of your novel. So next month we're gonna be talking about narration. And some people, you know, kind of get worried about what the new rate, you know, who's gonna write my story. Well, we'll go into that and everything that's connected with the writing the story, and it is connected to point of view as well. So if you happen, I checked out my lesson on point of view. That might be a good one to listen to before next month's narration class. So thank you very much for taking this class on my other classes and following May I appreciate each and every one of you. Andi, I wish you luck with your story, and I just said, Reach out. If you need any help with anything and not just on pacing anything to do with your novel, I'll be happy to help you out until next time. Please take care and happy writing