When I’m reading fiction, pacing is everything. It’s because I see literature as a dance. The author takes the lead. The reader follows. The sentences wind and, hopefully, the reader makes the pages turn.
Though reader and writer remain two separate entities, the connection that binds them is intimate—it flows out of the language. Yet there is a temporal component as well. Writing as an art form is overwhelmingly linear, perhaps more so than any other. Each piece of writing is read word by word, line by line, regardless of size or complexity. To achieve basic coherence, let alone literary quality, the sequence of letters, words, and clauses must be exact. The sentence is a finely tuned mechanism. String enough of them together into a story, and you have something much larger, grander.
Imagine a freight train, a machine of pure language barreling forward in time. Read More