Okay, so in last week's post, I mentioned how the series I had so been looking forward to ended up falling flatter than a pancake.
Here's what happened: In the space of three, rather short books, (novellas?) we meet the main character and he's gone from Farm Boy to Hero. Not only does he run away from home, he saves the life of the King, befriends the Prince, falls in love with the Princess, who falls in love with him, too. And goes on this grand adventure. As if all that other stuff wasn't grand enough.
Now. As you are reading the books, it seems like maybe a few months have passed. But I honestly don't know if this was a time-line error on the authors part, or what, but the author writes it out that it happened in three to four days.
In between those few main points up there, so much happened in the author's world, too.
When you have such a busy timeline scheduled for your character(s), you have to allow them a chance to breathe. Your reader, too. That is why flow is so important. Action, followed by action and more action gets tedious. Breaking it up with a paragraph or two of the MC reflecting on all of it and how fast things happened to it, is not necessarily "down time" for the reader to catch their breath. It also doesn't make for a good story flow.
There is so much advice out there on the flow of a story, it is pretty much personal preference. For me, I like to build up the action, then slow things down a bit to begin building up the next bit of action. I put in parts and take out parts here and there in order to make sure things are moving along at a quick pace, but not so quick as to make the reader think it is unrealistic and put the book down.
So. Figure out your pace. Think about how long your book is going to be, and work from there. If you are writing a trilogy, what will happen in each book? If it is a longer series, plan it out for things to happen a little slower. In my opinion, the series I am talking about could have taken one or two of those main points up there and spanned at least one good book, taking up the threads again in the next book and making them secondary. Then one or two other plot points could have been focused on, instead.
Example: The first book, the main plot points could have been the MC running away from home and falling in love with the Princess. The secondary threads could have been befriending the Prince and planning for his grand adventure.
In book two, the main points could have been planning for the adventure and saving the life of the King. Which would make the secondary points the ongoing romance and friendship. The start of his adventure could have been moved to the third book, and so on.
Don't have too many things happening at once. Make them obstacles for your MC, not the reader. You squish them all into a few short pages and things get kind of confusing, not to mention there was no real process. Things were too easy. Problems arose, and were solved almost as fast with no real problem solving techniques. Those are so important to your readers!
What did you think of this topic? Leave your comments below!