A Six Cities pacing exercise

The piece below is the result of some experimentation with the pacing of my work.

A lot of my older pieces are very descriptive, I tend to get carried away trying to get a lot of detail about a scene down on paper when a lot of it isn’t necessary to the audience’s understanding of what’s going on and I frequently get feedback that this causes the pace of the piece to drag. A picture paints a thousand words, so I suppose this is an outcome of my latent desire to be a landscape and character artist – something I’ve not pursued since I was around 16 after realising I was about as good at drawing as I was at flying.

Before starting the piece below I thought about what I’d been reading recently that moved at a very fast pace. Focusing on the Tales of the Ketty Jay series by Chris Wooding I went back to look at the level of description vs dialogue and action that made up the book, and made an effort to shift the tone of this piece away from the description-heavy style that I normally use and more towards Chris’s style. I deliberately didn’t push it to his extreme, the snippet I had in mind didn’t contain enough action to get away with his frugal use of description, but it was certainly a different experience to write whilst watching the descriptive word-count.

I should say a little about Six Cities. People paying attention may have noticed the tag appended to a number of older posts here without there being much explanation as to what it is. In my head I have two settings bouncing around and swapping ideas between them. Neither has a proper name, but as “Project Two” took over more and more time in my imagination and started spilling out onto paper I thought it needed some form of identity. I doubt it’ll stick in the long run, but for now everything written in the second of my two settings will have this tag. I hope one day to get “Project One” out to the world a little more, but “Project Two” has done the mental equivalent of stealing it’s lunch money and taken a lot of it’s good ideas so there’s more work to be done to get that one ready for prime-time.

This piece was originally written in late November 2014, over a long weekend at my partner’s parents house away from my normal distractions.

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