Using Punctuation to Pace Your Story…While you shouldn’t hold a reader’s hand when it comes to plot or story, I’m going to suggest a different kind of hand-holding for a moment. Punctuation is like having an invisible guide through a scene—not just as it pertains to the story within the scene, but to the scene as it’s physically rendered on a page. A jolt in the latter will result in a jolt in the former for the reader.
Masterful pacing is one of those subtle story elements that sets great stories apart from the rest. We tend to think of pacing in terms of the exciting page-turners popular among thrillers, but it’s equally important to be able to engage in a more leisurely pace when the story calls for it. Pacing is all about balance.
Reader immersion refers to the author’s ability to draw a reader so deeply into the story that they forget they are reading a story at all—the writing becomes invisible and the reader feels as if they are experiencing the story as or alongside the characters. There are many important aspects of reader immersion to consider, but effective use of punctuation and manipulation of page space are two easy concepts to employ that can make a massive difference right away.
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