I’ve been thinking about the pacing in my manuscript and am curious what everyone’s thoughts are when it comes to using high intensity moments. When I say high intensity I mean life or death situations, thrilling fight scenes, dramatic breakups, etc.
I prefer a book to start with an attention getting moment that pulls the reader into the story. It doesn’t have to be explained or resolved at this point, it’s job is to get the reader wanting to read more. The next chapters are then calm, characters introductions are made and the scene is set. Once the reader has relaxed into the world then, BANG another crisis forces the characters to act. This cycle continues with intervals of crisis and calm until it’s time to start building up to the climax. Then, even the calm is charged with underlying tension as the characters work to solve the problem.
The calm moments are vital. Without them the reader becomes numb to feeling the thrill of the intense. It’s like in horror movies, the best screams happen when the audience believes the characters are safe and then the killer grabs one from behind.
How do you like your stories? Do you prefer a smooth ride to the top where the intensity slowly builds? Or, do you prefer fast and furious roller coaster ride? Or, is it something in between?