so i'm working on a novel, and so far it's the strongest idea i've had for a story
i have the main events plotted out but apparently i'm no good at pacing stories, because i'm about 10k words in and the story seems like it's flying by but not in a good way
it feels like it's racing along and there's not enough time to really get a good sense of everything
anyone have suggestions or tips for mixing up the pace in a story without it feeling like big forced chunks of description/slow/boring parts?
I'd say finish it and then go back and figure out what needs more.
Get critiques if you want advice less vague, but I don't think there's much anyone can offer because it's up to you to figure out what's good for your story.
Stories are not expected to be perfect in their first draft and are often made much, much better. You'll only improve by continuing, after all.
Come back and take what outline you have, if any, and throw it away.
Now, outline it going off what you've written. I'd suggest doing it by chapter but breaking it down by major stuff happening.
That'll get you to a point where you can start looking for places where things should be added, where stuff can really be cut and/or combined with other stuff, and so forth. Just don't throw fluff in for fluffs sake. This story may not turn out to be a novel. If so, it's fine.
TLDR: You're on the rough draft. It's going to stink. It's going to be quite rough. Relax. You'll fix it with editing. Outline it once your done and tinker.
Right now above all you can't see the forest for the trees. The story isn't done. You're still in the thick of it. You're just at a point of realizing this piece is going to need some work, which is fine. wink
I agree with the others that you should finish it first, and then go back over it, but if you're adamant, here are some things you could try:
If you already know how many words you want your story to be and where each plot point will fall, you can map out each point along a number line. If you want your novel to be 100k, then you know by 50k you should have reached to half way point of the novel. Here is a youtube link to someone who can explain this better: Cluster Plotting The part I'm refering to is about 5:30-7:20
Try to follow the pacing of another book, movie, or tv show. Match how they rise and fall with the action, introduce new characters, change scenery, etc. until you can get the hang of it yourself.
This sounds a lot like where I was at, like... last year, probably. I had finally come up with a story idea I had confidence in, but almost every time I tried conveying things in words, I would summarize the story rather than actually telling it. I guess I was lucky, because somehow when I sat down to work, that didn't happen.
Practice helps: you can never get better at writing if you don't write. But if you have no idea of how to get better, you can end up just practicing the same mistakes over and over. So in terms of edit now/edit later, it really depends on what you have now-- if the beginning of your story is too flawed, trying to continue could be like trying to build a house with an unstable foundation, but if you obsess over a couple of paragraphs for ages, you don't even have a chance to see how they would fit into the greater arc of the story.
So, how do your write a story with decent pacing without adding filler? Well, you ask yourself what parts of a story aren't filler. And when you're writing, try going back and reading your work as if you've never heard of it before. Better yet, get someone else to read it and tell you what they think is going on. It's easy to think things are obvious when really, you need to explain them more.
But, things that I can come up with that aren't filler:
1. Thematic content. What ideas drive your story? How are they represented by the characters, events, and narration? Have you given the reader enough information that they will know these things? If you are making a central argument, what are counter arguments to that, and how could they be brought up in the story?
2. Believability. Do your characters act like people? Do they look like people? Does the reader know where the story is taking place? Is there evidence for the characteristics and relationships in your story that you need the audience to accept?
3. Aesthetic atmosphere. What tone do you want to set with this story, and what details would support that tone?
There's some overlap, of course, but try breaking down what you want in these categories (and any others that you can think of) and then see if you can find it in what you have, or whether you need to add something to make them come across.