If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied

Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!


Monday, August 24, 2020

TIME by Nancy L. Eady

             Time is an odd concept. On the one hand, it is hard and set. It is measured by scientists, egg timers, stopwatches and (apparently) my dogs on Saturday and Sunday.  They wake me up Saturday and Sunday to the exact minute we would usually get up Monday through Friday. On the other hand, it shortens and lengthens itself in odd ways. If I’m stuck in a boring meeting, an hour is interminable. If I’m visiting with friends, an hour passes in seconds.

            The older I get, the weirder this flexible aspect of time gets. It is almost the end of August, but I could swear I’ve only blinked once since it was early July. The day before I leave work on vacation lasts a century, but when I realize next year is 2021, I have to shake myself to remind myself I’m not dreaming. Surely any year in the 2000s occurred just last week.

            And can anyone explain why reading an 80-page Supreme Court opinion seems to take more time than reading a mystery book of 200 pages or more? 

            Writers struggle with time as well. Not just with the more mundane aspects of making sure your 32-year-old heroine doesn’t remember an event that occurred 40 years earlier or get confused about the day of the week, but also with the rhythm and tempo of our words and the flow of the story. Rhythm, tempo, meter, and flow are all part of what writers call “pacing.”  Pacing is the speed at which the story is told, not the speed at which the story happens. And it is not bound to hard and fast rules of physical time. For example, the show 24 made an entire season last one 24-hour period. But the show’s events and the way they were presented certainly did not drag on the way a 24-hour video of my life on a quiet Sunday would.  Pacing is one of the many writing techniques I am still struggling with. While I like thrillers, the constant action is wearing. I prefer quiet moments interspersed with faster action, but there is a fine line between a quiet moment and a dragging scene. While common sense tells you that a quiet moment or a pause in conversation might be the perfect moment to end a chapter, the better practice is to end chapters in the middle of a cliffhanger, to keep the reader wanting to keep reading to find out what happens next.

            If you’re a writer, what sources have you used to refine your pacing skills?  And if you’re a reader, how does pacing affect the way you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) a book? 


Annette said...

This is a subject I've been thinking about a lot lately. March, April, and May all had about 300 days each, but June, July, and now August have sped past. How can September be only a week away???

I haven't read any books on the topic of pace (but would love to, if anyone has recommendations). Mostly, I pay attention when reading, dissecting how an author does it when I notice pace is being done well. Also, my editor doesn't hesitate to point out where I need to "get on with it."

Kait said...

Excellent post, Nancy. Pacing is so difficult, especially if you fall in love with a particular scene. I've not read any books on pacing, but like Annette, recommendations welcome. To keep me moving, I follow a tip from Rachel Aaron's 2,000 to 10,000 to bullet point each scene and write from point to point. When I the draft is done I try to read it as a reader, not a writer to check for pacing and I'm blessed with fantastic beta readers and editors who keep me on pace.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I add action or conflict to narrative scenes to move things along. Great post!

Shari Randall said...

Nancy, you certainly captured our feelings! I've never lived through a year where time felt so distorted and plain "messed up."
Pacing is one of those almost invisible elements of writing. We all know what it feels like when we're reading and want the protagonist to get on with it. How to avoid the "mushy middle"? EB, pacing would make a great workshop!

KM Rockwood said...

Time has always seemed relative; this year extremely so.

I have to fight the impulse to give chapters a nice, wrapped up ending. I always ask myself, if I were reading this before bed, would the chapter ending make me think, "I have to see what happens next. Just one more chapter?"

E. B. Davis said...

As Class Guppy, I've looked for a teacher of pacing. We had one, but she got bad reviews. I'm working with one instructor, but if anyone find someone good on pacing, please let me know.

From my own reading, I get bothered by too fast of a pace. Wanting to turn the page is a must, but not because I'm always on edge. Just like myself, a bit of leisure is a good thing and doesn't make for a rushed book. Having impact doesn't always mean fast.