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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Novel Essentials: Pacing

No Longer Enrolling

  • $65.00 Non-Member
  • $55.00 Member

Class Description

Every novel tells the story of characters moving through time, but how should a novelist manipulate that time span? Which periods should be hurried through with an overarching narrative summary, and which should be lingered on in detailed scenes with dialogue and description? When should the author take the time to create atmosphere and environmental detail, and when should the plot move forward at a faster pace, ensuring the reader’s continued interest and excitement? These questions form one of the most complex and difficult of a novelist’s challenges--the daunting task of determining a novel’s pacing and momentum. In this seminar, we will analyze the elements of pacing and the many speeds and styles with which narratives can carry the reader through time. We will examine the published work of several authors to find examples of different narrative speeds, and we will discuss the pitfalls of books that are too fast, too slow, too stilted, or too detailed. We will also explore, with consideration to the novel that each attendee is writing, the connection between the aim and genre of any given novel and the pacing it requires. By the end of the seminar, each writer will have gained an understanding of the mechanics of pacing and, in addition, will have a better sense of which pacing technique will work best for their own book.

Part of GrubStreet's Novel Essentials Series, led by Ursula DeYoung and dedicated to exploring the fundamental building blocks of the novel. Classes include:

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!