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The “Oh, Crap!” Factor: Pacing in Real Time

Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery by Diane Holmes, Chief Alchemist of Pitch University

Every story needs what I call, “Oh, Crap!” scenes.  These are the scenes where things do not go as planned.  Bad things happen.  Character are in trouble.

poster-oh crap4But specifically it means at least one character now, right-this-very-minute, knows it.  There was now, when the character did not know something was bad, and now there is after, the new now.

And I’m stating the obvious (as is sometimes my job), but we’re only talking about stuff that matters to the character and the plot, right? If the bad stuff doesn’t matter then it’s really not part of the story you’re telling.

Okay, back on point, which is why what happens in the now of your story has a huge effect on pacing.  And this is where many, many writers get hung up.

So here’s the secret.

Continue reading The “Oh, Crap!” Factor: Pacing in Real Time

Free Offer: Do you need help with pacing?

Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery by Diane Holmes

We’ve been talking about pacing for a few months now, and it’s time to get our hands dirty. 

get your hands dirty

Let’s put the pacing techniques we’ve learned so far into practice.

As you’ll recall, my definition of pacing goes like this:

Fresh &


Stuff that Matters (consequences and emotions)

Happening in Real Time (even if it’s just learning about something)

That Causes Immediate Reaction

With an Unknown Outcome

That Changes the Game

For at Least One Character

And the Reader.

Enter to Win

Add a comment to this post and tell me why you’d like to work 1-on-1 with me to improve the pacing in your writing. 

Be creative. 

Woo me.

Entertain me.

Convince me your pacing is keeping you from being brilliantly published.

I’ll choose one writer who will send me 5 problem pages, and we’ll work to make it better.  Then we’ll feature the transformation in an upcoming post.

Yes, this will take a little bravery. 

But you could transform your understanding of how pacing works.  And that, my friend, is worth a million smackers.

This article is the 7th in Diane’s craft-of-fiction-writing series on Pacing:

  1. How to Be a Pacing Genius
  2. Pacing and the Thirst for Something Fresh (Blood Optional)
  3. You Can’t Look Away: Pacing & The Riveting Story
  4. Shot Through the Heart: Threat, Consequences, and Emotions Equal Pacing
  5. BONUS: Don’t Hold Back – Pacing Advice by Literary Agent Donald Maass
  6. BONUS: Using Major Turning Points – Pacing Advice by Christopher Vogler
  8. The “Oh, Crap!” Factor: Pacing in Real Time
  9. Bam! Pow! Wham! Good Pacing Causes Immediate Reaction
  10. Situation Critical: Pacing’s Need for an Unknown Outcome
  11. Game Changers: Pacing, Plot Twits, and Reader Engagement
  12. Pacing that Matters: It All Comes Down to Characters
  13. Your True Opponent: Pacing’s Race to Outwit the Reader
  14. 9 Pacing Techniques, 1 Scene on Fire

Diane Holmes Crop 1Diane writes two alternating columns for Freelance-Zone:Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and Marketing-Zone:Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book.

She’s the Founder and Chief Alchemist of Pitch University – “Learn to pitch your book from the AGENTS and EDITORS who make their living at it. Learn. Pitch. Sell.”