One of the biggest lessons I have had to learn as a novelist is how to create pace. It’s a lesson about which I continually remind myself and which I find myself often writing about when I carry out assessments of aspiring writers’ manuscripts.

I recently assessed one manuscript which started well, building up the atmosphere nicely, creating the situation, but which lost its way in the middle section..

The key reason was that there were passages in the middle of the novel when the story started to gather pace then slowed down again, stopping off for a bit of a history lesson as copious back story was introduced, which interrupted the narrative flow so that when we returned to the story it was like going from a standing start.

Thrillers/crime novels rely on pace and the stop-start nature of the middle section of this one prevented the writer achieving it.

Back story is crucial but, as I have learned from the excellent editors with whom I have worked down the years, it must be used sparingly to allow the story to keep moving.

An example of that in my work was The Long Dead, which I worked on with the Books Folks to re-edit in order to cut out back story and give the here and now more pace.

You can see the result at https://www.amazon.co.uk/LONG-DEAD-gripping-detective-Blizzard-eboo...

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