Friday, May 15, 2015

Pacing and Attention Span

I entered a contest this year, to see how my book would fare.  It was free, so I figured, why not.  Well, I got the results back and they gave it high marks except for pacing.

Pacing?  HUH?  My books are fast paced, to keep up with the changing market.  According to this article, readers don't have a long attention span.  You have to keep the plot moving or you'll lose your audience.  You also have to write shorter books, or your readers will be gone.

I kept reading that part about pacing in that contest, over and over again, obsessing over it.  I have a feeling that newer readers might want faster pacing, but people who've been reading for a while don't want that roller coaster feeling.  So who do you write for?  The people who've been reading for a while and savor each word and each scene like a fine wine, or the readers who want their books to move to come alive in their minds?

Personally, I like books that move.  If there's too much narrative, I skip it and miss that whole part of the book.  I couldn't care less whether the doilies in a room are handstitched or bought from a store, nor do I care about the intricate coloring of each strand in a carpet.  Tell me the doilies are there and the carpet's brown, and my mind will take care of the rest.  That narrative slows down the plot, and makes the story come to a crawl or a standstill.

I like books that have a lot of 'white space' on the page.  I've seen them called 'loud' books, because there's usually a lot of dialogue going on.  Books with little white space have more narrative, and are 'quieter.'

Here's a description of that white space:

If you're interested, here's more on white space, for writing and for the Internet:

So, in writing books, more white space is better, because it keeps the reader moving.  It doesn't bog them down with minor details or narrative.

Pacing.  Love it or hate it, it's what can make or break a book.

Have a great week!

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