09 January 2017

Speed Up or Slow Down?

I've been having a predicament when it comes to editing lately. Ok, I've had several predicaments over the course of editing this novel, but one in particular seems relevant right now. I finally finished up my Chapter 3 edits and Chapter 4 should be relatively easy (just line by line edits, no major changes--hopefully I can get it done in one day). So that brings me to Chapter 5, and also to my predicament.

Well, technically it's about Chapter 5 and Chapter 6. They've always gone pretty much the same way. In Chapter 5, my characters admit that they're attracted to one another. In Chapter 6, one of the characters reveals a darker secret, and then my narrator is left wondering what to do with all of this information.

My concern with this is that I've been feeling like Chapter 6 may be slowing the story down. It's basically just a giant conversation. The information is important, but I've wondered if it really needs an entire chapter to get the point across. So what I wanted to do was take all of the important bits and move them onto the end of Chapter 5 instead. Then the story could keep going at a faster pace.

Well, that's what I planned on doing, anyway. Now that the moment is finally approaching, I'm not so sure if it's the right decision anymore. There's already a lot going on in Chapter 5. Every part of the story beforehand has basically been leading to this moment. So it's a lot to deal with already. Then the information in Chapter 6 is a lot to take in as well. So maybe it's too much to put into just one chapter.

There's also what happens after these chapters. Basically a decision has to be made and I'm worried if I combine these chapters that the decision happens way too quickly. Maybe it won't seem realistic anymore if the action is sped up. There's a thought process involved and if I speed up that process it may seem irrational.

So what to do? Speed it up or slow it down? I'm leaning toward the latter at this point, AKA keeping exactly the way it's always been (just writing it better, of course). That way--hopefully--the reader won't be overwhelmed and wondering what exactly is going on.


  1. I'd say do it both ways, cut chapter 6 and put the info in 5 and make another file and leave both. Set them aside for a while then go back and read them both and see if one sounds better to you than the other.

  2. Nothing says you can't have a short chapter if you decide to just pare down #6 for impact and pacing and leave it by itself.

  3. Sometimes, there needs to be a slower chapter between chapters where a lot happens. It gives the readers time to breathe. I agree with L. Diane, you can pare it down some and have a short chapter.

  4. Oh...I recently came across the same problem with my edits. I ended up planting a brief scene starting the question of the dialogue in an earlier chapter so the dialogue piece was a heated argument about secrets. I do like the comments from above though, about combining 6 with 7. I wish you much luck :)

  5. I kind of like short chapters between longer ones. I see no problem in breaking up the story like that with the right transitions. Good luck with whatever you choose.

  6. I second (or third) the short chapter idea. And here I was thinking I'd be the only one to suggest it :-)

  7. Not sure I can offer advice. With my re-write, because I like to keep chapters relatively uniform in length (10-12 pages in length), I did create an additional chapter because the one I was re-writing was becoming too long for my tastes. Especially since I was doing the re-write based on the original chapter I was using as an outline.

    Maybe breaking it off into another chapter will keep things properly situated and not make them seem rushed.

    Father Nature's Corner

  8. I can definitely relate to this situation. I'm struggling with how best to divide my work into chapters. Cheers - Ellen