Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Novel structure & pace via Kindle

I'm reading a book I wouldn't ordinarily read. This author is a NYT Best Seller. I wasn't drawn to the story, but I wondered what it was that made him soooo popular -- a bit of story analysis on my part.

Here is the Kindle progress bar:

Since I'm only 13% in, I can't say how I like the story. But the thing I noticed was the chapter lengths of the book, which can be a clue to pacing.

Kindle's progress bar shows a graphical representation of the book's length with a dot at the beginning of each chapter.

For a "big picture" person like me, this is great.

I see that the story has a fairly uniform length of chapters up to middle. [The part of the story where plot and characters are being established.]

Then things get quick. [Building to the main conflict.]

The chapter lengths vary after that until nearing the end when the chapters get shorter (and probably the pace speeds up). [The plot climax and resolution.]

This is a handy tool for writers to analyze plot construction from the masters.

My field guide to the writer's life has more on plot: