They go together like cookies and milk. Good pacing reflects a well-plotted novel, and poor pacing? Well, it's a plot (and novel) killer.
Now, in writing circles, there's heaps of talk about pantsers versus plotters. About whether you write the story as it comes to you, needing that creative freedom, or whether you write better with structure, using an outline, a beat sheet, or an entire wall filled with post-it notes with your key plot points. Either way, it's all good, as long as it works for you. (Me, I'm a panster, but I use an editorial road map during revisions.)
This post isn't about your method, or any method, good or bad. It's about feel. As I've said before, I believe good writing is like good music--that good writing is effortless for the reader, and that prose should have a rhythm that lets the story flow and keeps the reader engaged.
Pacing is the same.
You can graph and chart and plot your novel all day, but you will know you've hit the pacing sweet spot when it feels right. When it flows and keeps the reader engaged at every moment.
The best example I can give is the cover of Taylor Swift's song "I Knew You Were Trouble" by the amazing group Walk Off The Earth. Their a capella-beatbox version blows me away every time I watch it. Why? Because their pacing is genius. Yes, they have T. Swift's brilliant storytelling and melody to work with, which deserves top credit. But WOTE's arrangement is pacing perfection in 4:20 flat.
The clip opens with one pure and distinctive voice to start...perfect for hooking the listener and setting the tone. Then, one at a time, members join, adding their vocal talents, letting the melody rise and fall and each addition and sound is perfectly timed.
It feels right.
Take a look and judge for yourself. :)
This video has 9, 972, 747 views. Um, yeah. So I think it's pretty fair to say it hits the pacing sweet spot.:) And now Walk Off The Earth has their own record deal, which I think is pretty cool too.
So, how's your novel coming along? How does it feel? Have you hit the pacing sweet spot yet?:)