Day 22 – Sharpen the Hooks and Tighten the Pacing

This is the continued saga of my foray into Janice Hardy’s Revise Your Novel in 31 Days at-home workshop (

Today I will be looking at hooks and pacing.

Pace should be consistent with your genre. A romance would move at a slower pace than a thriller. In all genres pace should speed up at major plot moments. There should be waves of fast and slow pacing throughout the story.

Hooks keep the reader asking questions.  What happened next? What will they do? How will they get out of it? What’s the deal with X?

I never thought of hooks anywhere other than the first page, but I did know to finish each chapter with a question or cliffhanger, so I guess I have hooks in that respect. But Janice recommends one to three hook lines on every page.

I am concentrating on slow spots that might lose readers and spots that encourage readers to skim, because that is my greatest concern. I keep going back to Chapter 30, which I’ve mentioned before, because I haven’t felt comfortable with it. I realize now it needs some hooks. Now that I’ve added them, I am finally happy with the outcome.

Results: My story is taking shape and I am learning how each revision is making my writing tighter and smoother. I have learned that pacing is like a wave, pulsing in and out, never stagnant.

Take-Away Value:

Pacing can be slow because it is too wordy. Look for dialogue that is empty, any unnecessary action or description, weak goals or stakes. If the pacing is too fast, look for opportunities to add breathers, such as glimpses of a character’s personality or scene.

What about your pacing? Do you tend to stick with action or get bogged down in description?

See you on the next page.



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