Fiction Essentials: Narrative Pacing, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Every story has a beginning and an end, but how does a writer best navigate the space of time in-between? Which parts of the story should be condensed or summarized, and which should be shown as detailed, ‘real time’ scenes? How does a writer know when to slow down for backstory or setting detail, and when the action should pick up pace to engage the reader? This task of manipulating narrative time is one of the hardest jobs a writer has to face. In this workshop, part of our “Fiction Essentials” series, we will examine the elements of pacing and learn exercises and tools for expanding and compressing, slowing down or speeding up narrative time. Through examples and specific exercises, we’ll explore the mechanics of pacing and gain a stronger understanding of how to manipulate the time in our own stories.

Saturday, March 27, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Jacqueline Sheehan, PhD is the New York Times bestselling author of The Comet’s Tale, Lost & Found, Now & Then, Picture This, The Center of the World, and The Tiger in the House. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, and essays including the New York Times column, “Modern Love.” She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and around the world. Find out more at