Gas and Brake

I recently took a course on Udemy, taught by Elizabeth Bezant. One of the most important things I learned from her was how to use “gas” and “brake” pedals in my writing.

Action and dialogue are the gas pedal. They propel your story, often at a breakneck pace.

Description and narrative are the brake pedal. They slow things down for your readers, so they have time to breathe.

This is why many people find Michael Bay movies hard to watch. There is no brake. It is non-stop action, from start to finish.

Obviously, the amount of gas and brake you use will fluctuate based on your story (romance will be slower going than thriller, etc.), just as they would when driving on different types of road.

The judicious blending of start and stop is what makes or breaks a piece of writing.

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