by Kathi Macias
I hear a lot about the need to “slow down the pace” of our writing, and I know that especially applies to me. I am definitely not one of those who spends too much time on descriptions and backgrounds. Anyone who’s read my books knows I like to throw the reader right smack-dab into the action from the opening page. As a result, I get a lot of drama going on, which is great for the reader-to a point. But readers can get worn out with too much action and need a break on occasion. And so I’ve learned to slow things down and intersperse my heavy-action scenes with breathers, enabling the reader’s adrenaline to return to normal…until the next action scene, of course.
Recently, however, I had an interesting writing experience that took me beyond the occasional breather to an entirely new dimension of slower-paced writing. That doesn’t mean I took a lot longer to complete my manuscript; it does mean that I realized we authors can create character depth and compelling stories without run-for-your-life chase scenes and near-death experiences on every other page.
A couple of years ago my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, suggested that some of her authors might want to consider doing a joint-effort project-specifically, Bloomfield. Bloomfield is a little town in “Anywhere, USA,” where life is simpler and the pace is so slow that at times it seems the residents are caught in a time-warp. But there’s a certain appeal to stepping back into a not-so-long-ago era when the latest in technology upgrades did not rule our lives, when people had time to sit on the porch and drink sun tea and chat, when the biggest thing going on all year was the annual Spring Fling Festival. And that’s what happened to me as I researched/wrote my contribution to the Bloomfield Series, Last Chance for Justice. Centered around quirky but lovable characters, a cozy little mystery, and a sweet romance, this story caught me up in its charm. I quickly found myself longing to step into the pages of my manuscript and spend some time in Bloomfield. It was so much more than a call to slow the pace of my writing; it was a call to slow the entire pace of my otherwise frantic life and “smell the roses,” as they say.
Deep down, I believe readers also long for such a break from their own fast-paced lives, which is why such books hold an appeal for them. Personally I’m glad I took the time to rein myself in a bit and to spend some time helping to develop this little town. If you’re a writer and dealing with some of those same time and schedule stresses, you might consider developing your own small-town story and see if it doesn’t help you find some balance in the midst of your busyness.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award-winning author of 40 books, including her latest release, Last Chance for Justice. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Al, except when the thermometer hits triple digits and they head to the Pacific Northwest to enjoy the milder summers-and a slower-paced life.