Pacing is one thing I have trouble with in writing, one solution would be to get a bigger office so I could take more than two steps when I pace. The other would be to look at it in my writing, and other peoples fiction.
Like always I like to look at the very worst (but successful) examples first. The absolute worst examples of pacing are the Matrix movies.
10 minute Action scene, 40 minutes of dialog, 30 minute Action scene.
The Matrix Reloaded:
5 minute Action scene, One hour of dialog/really, really bad sex scene, 40 minute Action scene.
The Matrix Revolution,
I think there was some dialog in there somewhere. But oddly not a single, “Whoa.”
Pacing should be easy, whenever you start to drift out, throw in a moment that puts the characters life in danger, then get back to the story. However it is easy to make that transparently forced. Next somewhat successful bad example:
Lost: You could tell by the commercials for Lost how good or bad their ratings were. Good ratings, mysterious commercials that were intentional vague. Bad Rating, “We're all gonna die,” and “This Rock changes everything.”
By third season it was painful to watch as they were forcing so many gimmicks to hold on to their ratings that the plotline was gone.
I'm going through the editing process right now on “Mind Thief” and 20,000 words in, I'm at the Matrix stage. I've carefully built the foundation for the big 30,000 word action finale, but I have a lot of ground that has the tension building, but there is no immediate threat to Howie's life.
Some of this would be easier if I could do “normal”, But I can't. I had to give my heroine Asperger's, a disorder that is characterized by difficultly in social interaction. So she reacts and behaves much differently than most, but she is sweet in her own way. That means extra work making the reader like my character who has no social skills.
My villain could easily be a twirling mustache stereotype, but I want the reader to understand why he thought killing millions of people was a good thing.
All these things add to the word count and give the reader extra work to get to the plot points. So I have to do the thing that is the very worst part about writing. I've got to go through and cut a hell of a lot of it and kill my Corvette scene. Making it worse, this time my beta readers liked my Corvette scene but it takes up valuable reading time. What a pity.
On a happier note, according to a completely arbitrary benchmark I saw on an agent's blog, I am now a real author. I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE broke the 500 downloads mark.