From LitWiki

Pace refers to Narrative Pace, which is defined as "the speed at which an author tells a story; the movement from one point or section to another".[1] Pace allows the writer to use mood, emotions, and dialogue to control how quickly the reader is taken through a story. The pace of a story may vary throughout, especially in the case of longer works such as novels.


Upping the Pace

A speedy pace keeps the reader on the edge of their seat; it causes them to want to keep reading in order to find out what happens next in the narrative. Sequences with a lot of action combined with minimal dialogue, character thought, and detailed description make the pace of the story go faster.[2] Also allowing multiple major plot points to happen in close succession will increase the overall pace.

Slowing the Pace

Using examples, detailed descriptions of scenes, and longer character dialogue[3] bring the pace down. This allows the author to build suspense or give the reader time to absorb what happened earlier in the story.

Examples in Literature


  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


  • Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert


  1. Tidwell. "Literary Terms AP English" [1]
  2. Naillon, Buffy. "What Is Narrative Pace" Demand Media. [2]
  3. Leiter, Kelly. "3 Literary Techniques, Part three: Narration" The Beginning Writer [3]