Friday, October 2, 2009

Writerly Pacing

Part of a super-long interview promoting his new book, Joe Posnanski takes a moment to describe pacing:
There is something about pacing in writing that has always fascinated me. You wish you could be there with every reader and say, "OK, this part you're supposed to read really fast. And this part, no, slow down, take your time on this part. And that part, yeah, just skim over that part." I suppose the writers who can get the readers to do that—to speed up and slow down instinctively—are the special ones. I don't have that talent, obviously, but it's something I do think about.
Is it possible that standard-length books of, let's say, 200-400 pages just aren't capable of holding a reader's full attention all the way through? I think it is possible, and probably even likely. 200 pages is a big time commitment. It's a little weird, though, to think that each reader would be interested in the same topics. And it's fascinating that even the author realizes that some parts of a book just aren't as interesting. But, again, I might be enthralled by a part of the book that the author himself just wasn't in love with. Morte D'Author, indeed.

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