Writer’s Craft # 83 Pacing a Series
Jaleta Clegg loves to play with words. She writes science fiction adventure and silly horror, and dabbles in other genres. She’s written an eleven book space opera, The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Books 1 and 2, Nexus Point and Priestess of the Eggstone, are in print. She’s published more than two dozen short stories ranging from silly horror to sweet romantic horror to humorous fantasy to science fiction. She’s a member of Broad Universe and BestsellerBound, both fine groups for authors to join. Find more at http://www.jaletac.com. Nexus Point: http://www.nexuspoint.info. Priestess of the Eggstone: http://journal-store.com/bookstore/priestess-of-the-eggstone/
Every writer understands pacing in a book is important. Start small, build to a minor climax, relax for a minute, build again to a bigger climax, repeat until you reach the final climax. It’s like the Mountain Climber game on The Price is Right – a series of peaks and valleys until you reach the highest point, then you push the reader right over the edge into your finale.
Each writer has their own way of pacing. For me, the most depressing, muddled point for my MC is about two-thirds of the way in. That’s when it looks like nothing is going to work out and the antagonist is going to win.
Pacing a series of connected books is similar to pacing a book. Think of the series as a giant story arc. Each book within the series has its own arc. Each chapter within the book has its own arc. With some broad plotting, you can build a series that not only will stand alone within each book, but will build to an even greater whole, like a television series such as Farscape. Each episode stands alone as a story, but together they create a far greater whole.