Anne Greenwood Brown explains that pacing for a modern plot remains the same whether you are writing a short story, novel or screenplay. Most stories break into three acts. Act I is 25% of the story, Act II is 50%, Act III 25%. Using a beat sheet can be a helpful tool, but also a curse. Use it during the developmental stage of editing – not while writing your first draft. Whatever the length of the story, the pacing should be the same with the inciting incident occurring 25% of the way through, the midpoint at the halfway mark, and Act III at the 75% mark. Edit accordingly, killing darlings as needed in order to hit pacing marks. It’s important to meet these marks because not doing so is the number one reason why an editor will turn down a novel.
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