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Is Usain Bolt really the King of pace?

Thursday, September 1, 2016
writing tips northampton

He certainly knows a bit about going flat out, but when we're writing, isn’t pace more subtle than that?

You’ll have noticed that I’m always banging on about the virtues of keeping things short.  Short words, short paragraphs, short sentences … but hang on a minute.  Does this always have to be the case?  Look what happens if your sentences become unrelentingly punchy.


They cave in.
They’re short.  Too short.
They lack life.
Each one is a grenade.
Chucked at your reader.
They have impact.  Sure.
Boom!  Bang!  Crash!
One.  Then another.  And another.
Make it stop!

It’s simply all too much.  Your reader needs a break to allow things to cool down to a gentle simmer … just … like … this.

The secret is to carefully pace your writing.  Pacing means keeping your reader’s attention by allowing them periodically to gently rise, to fall, to pause and yes - occasionally to hurry, as you lead them on
their way.  When we're thinking about our writing, maybe it's better to imagine that it's not a sprint - more of a foxtrot.
Slow, slow, quick-quick, slow.











Here’s an example of perfect pace in commercial copy from the Polish frozen food company, Hortex.

The best fruit and vegetables? Perfect products? Top quality? All natural products with no compromise on taste?  Absolutely!  That’s Hortex, Poland’s number one supplier of frozen food and drinks”.

And what's your fastest time?
(for the 100 metres or the foxtrot. Either way I'll be impressed.)
Tell me about it below.

Till the next time.



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