I’ve been pondering this lately after agonizing over my own stories, rewriting and deciding what kind of scenes I want in my books. And after hearing different opinions about writing and adding more action, I started thinking about what I like in a book. I like to write the kind of books I like to read, so it makes sense to me to look deeper into how much action I like in a book.
Action can improve the pacing, but too much action can also overshadow the growing relationships in a story, especially in a romance novel where the relationship is very important. I like those interactive scenes between characters, witty dialogue and moments pondering those raging emotions. I realize some readers and editors like the pacing to move quickly, but others like slower moments in a story as long as these scenes still move the story forward.
I’ve read books with more action than interaction between the two main characters, and I didn’t feel like I was able to know the characters, to feel what they were feeling. Too much action gave the book a fast pace, but I was left disappointed, like I missed something. I think maybe I like character driven novels and that’s what I like to write, too. Pacing is important in a story. You don’t want to bore the reader, but you don’t want to set the pacing so high, you leave the reader wondering what happened. I like to think of pacing in a book like a roller coaster. You have your wild turns and gut clenching drops, but you also have those moments where the roller coast just glides along the rails.
Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author