Crispin Emphasizes Pacing in Advanced Writers’ Workshop

Author Ann Crispin guided graduates of her basic workshop through the complexities of pacing on Saturday—day one of her two-day “Advanced Writers’ Workshop.” Crispin said that there is no “magic bullet” to conquer timing issues in fiction, but that it is essential that stories and novels be paced correctly to maintain reader interest. She added that it is very important to keep the plot moving and gave examples of this principle in a narrative scene from her novel, Storms of Destiny.

Crispin recommended The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman to her rapt students and led the group through an exercise in pacing through narrative. Crispin said that narrative was the hardest structure in which to maintain an engaging pace for fiction. Sunday’s class promises pacing exercises using dialogue and action scenes, and ways to promote plot development to keep the story moving at a crisp rate.

In addition to her writing and workshop leadership, Crispin serves as a scam detective and is a co-founder of SFWA’s Writer Beware website.

Author of the article

Amy L. Herring (Louise Herring-Jones) writes speculative fiction, with a preference for historical fantasy and alternate mystery. Her stories, appearing in fourteen anthologies, include “The Poulterer’s Tale” in God Bless Us, Every One—Christmas Carols beyond Dickens (Voodoo Rumors Media, 2019). Amy is a NaNoWriMo co-municipal liaison. She also coordinates the Huntsville (Alabama) Literary Association’s writers’ group. Visit her online at