How to Pace Fiction with Scenes and Sequels

By Mike Klaassen

Scenes and sequels, by their nature, have a different pace. Scenes propel the story forward as the focal character attempts to achieve an objective. Scenes tend to be exciting, action-packed, fast reading. Sequels provide a breather while the character sorts out his feelings, reviews events, analyzes his situation, plans his next move, and makes a decision. Sequels tend to be emotional, thought-packed, slower reading.

The tempo difference between scenes and sequels creates an opportunity to use them in combination to set the rhythm and pace of the entire story. If you wish to accelerate the pace of your story, build up your scenes and condense (or hide) the sequels. If you wish to slow the pace of your story, do just the opposite: build up the sequels and trim the scenes.

In my research for Scenes and Sequels, each of the novels I analyzed was largely constructed of scenes and sequels, even though the method of their use and the pace of each one varied considerably. The pacing power of using scenes and sequels in combination gives you another tool to create a novel that readers have difficulty setting aside.

Mike Klaassen is the author of Scenes and Sequels: How to Write Page-Turning Fiction, which is available for order at traditional and online bookstores. You may “Look Inside” the eBook edition at

This article is adapted from an excerpt of Scenes and Sequels: How to Write Page-Turning Fiction by Mike Klaassen. Copyright 2016 and 2022 Michael John Klaassen.

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