3 Ways to Ensure Your Novel is Well Paced

Pacing is such an essential part of a novel. But what is it? Well, it’s essentially how fast or slow you tell the story. A well-paced novel doesn’t include irrelevant details that could bog the story down with information, such as non-eventful travelling, information dumps, or non-essential back story. The idea of a well-paced novel is to keep the reader engaged, interested, and well – turning that page!

So, how can you ensure your novel is well-paced? Here are three ways.

1) Shift the focus.

Have you been in a hurry to tell the story, and it’s moving too fast? It could be time to shift the focus from the main plot to your subplot. There are many different types of subplots, from romance, to giving backstory through flashbacks to supporting the novel’s central theme (think Bob Cratchit’s tale in A Christmas Carol).

Focus on a subplot means that it will take you longer to reach the final destination of your main plot, so use this idea sparingly. Too many subplots and diversions can be frustrating for a reader who really wants to know whodunit.

Want to speed up your story? Consider taking out a subplot.

2) Vary your sentence length. 

Just as including large narrative sections in dense paragraphs can slow down your pacing, the opposite is also true. Short, sharp sentences and the use of single paragraph sentences can pack a punch and speed up the pace of your novel. An exciting read has varying sentence length, and a novel with roughly the same length sentences can be repetitive, even if the content varies. Keep your reader on their toes by changing up those sentences!

3) Create urgency.

As I shared in my blog post – How to Create Tension in Your Writing – urgency can come from different places. For example, adding a literal time limit will keep your reader on the edge of their seat, checking their watch to see how much time the character has left to complete their mission. Creating urgency in writing can also mean adding an element of danger – is your character being chased? Is there a fight brewing?

Alright, those are three ways to ensure your novel is well-paced! Do you have any questions about pacing? I would love to help answer them. Get in touch here.

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How to Create Tension in Your Writing

There is nothing better than reading a book that you just can’t put down. The pages are filled with intrigue, tension, and you absolutely have to find out what happens next. Creating tension in your writing is important because you want your reader to be engaged, involved, and excited to keep turning those pages.

So, how can we create tension in writing? Let’s dig in.


This is the act of creating a problem for your characters. It can be broken down into two categories:

Internal conflict

Your character shouldn’t be given what they want just because they demand it. Internal conflict looks like a character battling with their thought process, desires, or a fundamental part of who they are. It might be that they are haunted by a memory and cannot move past it. The internal conflict might drive your character forward on their journey or try and hinder their progress. However it is formed, internal conflict can change our actions, the way we look at a situation, and can create a tension that leaps from the page.

External conflict 

Your poor character, not only do they have all these internal battles, but now they have an external one too! External conflict is exactly that, something that the character needs to overcome in the real world. Perhaps they are being hunted down by the local werewolf, for example, and every day it gets a bit closer…


Often offered at the end of a chapter, cliffhangers are a great way to build tension on the page. It could be that you surprise the reader with a piece of information they didn’t know, reveal something shocking, or even stop the action halfway through so that the reader has to read on to get the goods!

Turn the tension dial up and down

If your novel is pure tension through and through, it can be a stressful read, and not in a good way. In some cases, it can desensitise your reader to the tension, meaning they are no longer on the edge of their seats. Instead, turn it up and down as though on a dial. The calmer moments will provide a type of respite for your reader and give those times of tension a bit of extra pizzaz!


A time limit is an extremely useful tool as a writer. It doesn’t have to be a literal clock ticking either, but a deadline on the horizon can really give your reader a taste of that tension your characters are experiencing.

What are your tips for creating tension in your writing? Please share them with me today! 

Want a hand with building tension? Get in touch. 

If you found this useful and want to read something similar, check out the following craft blog posts:

5 Things to Avoid When Writing Dialogue 
Which Story Outline Method is Best For You?
5 Books on Writing That Will Improve Your Craft