Posted by: nancycurteman | March 16, 2019

Strategies for Pacing a Mystery Novel

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Pacing in a mystery novel is not just a strategy for racing through the story. It is a way of blending action, emotion, and tension. At times you will want a fast-paced scene. At other times you may need a slower-paced scene. Action requires fast pacing. Tension requires a slower pace. Here are some pacing strategies for each:

Pacing for action:

  • Shorten chapters, paragraphs, sentences, scenes and even words.
  • Ensure that something interesting is happening on every page.
  • Use short dialog coupled with quick action.
  • Move from one scene to another in a short amount of time.
  • Use active voice.
  • Keep setting and description to a minimum.

Pacing for Tension:

  • Slow down the action.
  • Add interior monologue. Have your character debate in his mind options for what to do next.
  • Leave something in the scene or chapter unresolved.
  • Ask a question in one scene and make the reader wait for the answer in a later scene.
  • Have your character slowly become aware of evidence of danger.
  • • Worry your reader.

In a mystery novel, pacing is as important as plot, character, and setting. Give it the attention it deserves.

More Tips”

Secrets of a Well-Paced Novel

How to Perfect Pacing


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