If you'd studied writing under novelist Jim Shepard, you would have learned his philosophy on pacing. Pacing, he theorized, has very little to do with actual chronological passage within the story's world. To be effective, pacing is a direct correlation to the rate of revelation.
No amount of fast-paced action will engross the reader if nothing is happening to advance the story. Readers crave new tidbits, fresh insights, twists in perspective. Even a character's highly intriguing, passionate observation can be thrilling if the way he views the world comes across as a revelation of character.
Anton Chekhov also had something to say about pacing. His rule of revision: throw out the first four pages of any initial draft. He believed the first four pages amounted to nothing more than a writer "clearing his throat" and theorized it took four pages to settle into true voice and story.
Sounds brutal right? Not so fast.
The opening scene of The Night Caller has plagued me from the beginning. Now, in its final draft, the divisive opinions of beta readers haunt me. Eighty percent of them have said the same thing, which leans me to a weighty decision and a drastic move. Lo and behold, after reading Chekhov's advice I turned to the magical page four and saw it for myself. A scene break capable of starting the real story. Now I just have to find the strength to cut three pages that now have that ring of inevitibility, the perfect darlings that may not be so perfect because I can't edit them objectively. My mind trips ahead in a heady fog of familiarity, probably the surest indication Chekhov was right.
Leave your pacing tricks as a burnt offering in the comment box. I'll need something fresh to distract me from mourning my darlings.