By Julie Daines
I'm not much of an outliner. I've tried it before, and it just doesn't seem to work for me. I wish it did because it seems like a much better way to write. But no. For me, I just can't.
So, I'm constantly asked, how do you work out the pacing of your novel?
I am now going to divulge my secret and never-before-spoken-out-loud trick.
I listen to my gut.
Here's how it works:
I'm writing a scene. It's going great. The dialogue is fun, the action intense, and the conflict building. Then suddenly, I get this wrenching, panicky feeling right in the middle of my stomach. It says, "Oh my gosh, this is getting too long. You're dragging it out. Something new has to happen. You've got to move on." My blood races and my fingers shake unsteadily on the keyboard.
"MOVE ON!" it screams.
I listen. I wrap it up and move on. On to the next scene and the next plot point.
Is this a scientific method? No. Will you find it on Blake Snyder's Save the Cat beat list? No. But it works--for me.
Our guts--our writer's intuition--can often be our best friend if we take the time to listen. Feed back from critique partners, from beta readers, pacing, character names, character reactions, almost any part of our novel will speak to us.
Take a moment, consider carefully all sides, and listen to your gut. It is your friend.
When have--or when do--your writerly instincts kick in and help you?