Hello! My problem with writing is pacing. All the important scenes always seem really short and the "filler" scenes happen too quickly. How do I slow things down??
First and foremost, take a look and make sure that you are diving deep enough. By this I mean, are you describing the things you should be? Or are you just telling the events as they happen?
Oftentimes we can get carried away by the act of putting words on a page, so excited by the fact that the plot is moving, we’re not thinking of much else other than progress. And thus, the story sometimes becomes a lot of “and then, which lead to, and after that,” without giving a lot of time or breathing room for things like emotions or juicy descriptions.
Take the scenes apart piece by piece in your mind and ask yourself what the actual significance is. What does each event or each line of dialogue mean for a) the plot and b) the characters? If something negative occurs, your characters need to have time to react, process, and rebound. If it’s a happy moment, let them relish it for a moment. That will automatically help slow things down a little.
Leon slapped Finn across the face. Finn punched Leon in the jaw.
That’s and-then storytelling.
Leon slapped Finn across the face unexpectedly, prompting Finn to freeze in shock. But it didn’t last. His surprise was quickly replaced by anger, and before he knew it his fist was colliding with Leon’s jaw.
Wow! There are so many more words here, just because we used Finn’s emotions- in this case, shock and his anger- to fuel his actions.
And now, we can even add some juicy description to the mix:
There was a resounding slap as Leon’s hand careened across Finn’s face. For a moment, Finn was frozen in shock, his cheek stinging with pain. But it didn’t last. His surprise was quickly replaced by anger, and before he knew it, his fist collided with Leon’s jaw with a loud thwack.
And then, if you want to, you can even sprinkle in a little depth or background, depending on how significant you want this little altercation to be:
There was a resounding slap as Leon’s hand careened across Finn’s face. For a moment, Finn was frozen in shock, his cheek stinging with pain. Leon was a pain in the ass, but never, in all the years that Finn had known him, never had he ever raised his hand against him. It wasn’t the pain that bothered him. It was the betrayal. Just like that, his surprise was quickly replaced by anger, and before he knew it, his fist collided with Leon’s jaw with a loud thwack.
And now, we have all these words on the page- and not just that. Those words all mean something that serve the story. We can now feel Finn’s physical and emotional pain, and this event that was previously a Small Deal is now a Much Bigger Deal. Pretty cool.
And particularly for your “filler” scenes… no scene is truly a “filler.” Even if it doesn’t directly contribute to the overarching plot, each moment should still serve a purpose- advancing plot, advancing character, advancing a relationship, making something clear that wasn’t before, providing foreshadowing, etc. Like with any other moment, take a look on it and find it’s real significance.
It might be tough for a while to pick apart every scene, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes a lot more natural in your writing as a whole. Hope this helps!