12.14: Controlling Pacing with Structure

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

Let’s talk about the structural tools we use to control pacing. These include sentence length and punctuation.


Also, white-space.


Liner note: Here is the Feb 12, 2017 Schlock Mercenary strip mentioned around the 18-minute mark.

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered aboard a fleeing generation-ship by Alex Jackson



Change up a piece of fiction of yours by changing the length of paragraphs and sentences.

Tea & Jeopardy: A GeekPlanetOnline Community Podcast, by Emma Newman and Peter Newman

6 thoughts on “12.14: Controlling Pacing with Structure”

  1. Another comic-specific note: during the climaxes of “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dan Jurgen’s “Death of Superman”, the numbers of panels actually “count down”, so first there will be ten panels a page, then nine, then eight . . . until it hits the all-powerful climax of either story.

  2. My mom said my book had so much action she felt as beat down as my characters, so I added some fluffy, happy scenes. Now my brother says there is too much food. Is there a better way To give my readers a break without having too many inconsequential scenes?

    1. Two things:
      1) Writing to your beta readers can result in a book none of them (nor you) actually like. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong. It’s just something to be aware of.
      2) Scene-sequel format is your friend. Action scene, then scene where we process the action. Maybe over food, but more likely over bandages and maps. Don’t add inconsequential scenes, because an editor will just cut those, and then you’re back to the unrelenting beat-down.

  3. Thank you for introducing me to the Tea and Jeopardy podcast. Just listened to the episode with Brandon yesterday. There was a writing podcast I think I learned about from Brandon’s website but I can’t find it now. He was in an episode about magic systems and there was another episode about fantasy maps.

  4. Structure. Can. Control. Pacing.
    Structure can control.
    Structure can. Control pacing.

    Yes, indeed, the original foursome took some deep breaths, and dove into the way that structure can control pacing. Sentence length, paragraphs, punctuation, dialogue and narrative, character beats, even the sounds of silence as a character walks. Brandon nodded. And it’s all there for you to read in the transcript, available in the archives or over here


    Disorientation. Too!

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