History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Pacing Lessons from Hollywood

The hubbie is off at World Fantasy Con, which means I’ve learned a couple of things.

1) Cats do not like it when you try to stick stuff in their mouth.

2) It’s hard to cook for one person.

3) Movies are great for learning how to structure the pacing a novel.

I say this last specifically because I’ve been re-watching the made-for-TV movie mini-series, “The Stand.” Yes, it’s gloriously bad, but I love the book so much that I watch the heck out of this mini-series whenever I can, because 6 hours of movie watching is much easier on my schedule than a full day (or more) of reading. This time around, I find myself thinking about the book more than the movie.

Most of my thoughts have been remembering how Stephen King does POV, especially as a lot of the characters aren’t interacting with other characters for chunks of the beginning of the novel. As my NaNo is going to have some sections where the main character is alone, I have been trying to work out how to write those sections. Remembering when Stu is alone in the Center for Disease Control is a good exercise in figuring that out.

But also, “The Stand” really has that excellent opening. The action starts pretty much right out of the gate. The super flu gets loose, and then the rest of the book is dealing with the aftermath of that. The same can be said for most movies. Within the first scene, you’ve got something happening. Without that something, oftentimes the movie itself could not exist. The story of the movie would not be there. And it’s the same for a novel. You need the kick in the pants to happen right away, and then let everything sift itself out.

Gotta start kicking my protagonist in the pants in about 28 1/2 hours. See you then!

About The Author


Leave a Reply