Forlag St. Martin's Griffin
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The quickest way of increasing the pace of a manuscript and strengthening it at the same time is to remove all adjectives and adverbs and then readmit the necessary few after careful testing. One of the students in my seminar who had an adjective habit found that after eliminating all unnecessary adjectives and adverbs from his book-length manuscript, it was seventy-three pages shorter and considerably stronger! Mark Twain said, “If you catch an adjective, kill it!”
A technique for stepping up pace in fiction that isn’t used enough is flipping forward past a scene that never appears in the book.
Not too many decades ago, when a door closed on a couple getting into bed, the chapter would end. When the next chapter started, the coupling was long gone. The bedroom scene existed only in the reader’s imagination. The effect on the reader was that of the pace quickening. Here’s how the same effect can be achieved in today’s less prudish environment.
In my novel The Magician, there is one scene in which four rough teenagers meet with an older girl for beer and sex. That chapter ends with the girl saying, “Okay, who’s first?” The next chapter goes to a different location with other characters. The scene that the reader anticipates never happens. I was not being prudish. I did it to step up the pace. Though the book had several million readers, none ever complained about the missing scene. The point, of course, is that the more that happens in the reader’s imagination, the greater his appreciation of your story. This applies to any kind of scene.