I am currently getting feedback from my brilliant Beta readers on Bindcrafter, and the question as to whether certain sections are too slow has cropped up. But what do we mean by too slow?
Assuming you haven’t added extraneous characters or plotlines which are frustrating to readers, most likely they mean it’s dragging. They don’t often mean slow in the normal sense, let’s get it out there – they mean boring.
So how do you make things less boring? Explosions, fights, murder, deaths?
Adding action won’t make your story seem any more interesting to readers, if they’re not invested in it.
So, what’s missing?
DEF: an exciting, emotional, or unexpected event or circumstance
Exciting can be anything from getting a new puppy to opening exam results. Emotions manifest in interaction between characters and good point of view. Unexpected events can be anything from getting a fly in your soup to finding out your house is about to be demolished by your local council.
You can add a fight scene for drama, as long as it’s exciting – but you need to leverage drama to make it exciting. Getting punched in the face isn’t in itself very interesting. Imagine if you went to see some Shakespeare and the actors spent half the play hitting each other? And we’re all hoping for longer fights in the next Transformers movie, aren’t we? The point is, action in itself isn’t interesting if it’s not dramatic.
Cheap cliché alert: Make that punch an emotional one 😉
The best drama comes through interactions between characters, and change in your protagonist’s feelings. Takeaway: Look for the emotional impact your characters are having on your readers, before adding another explosion.