Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Confessions of a Short Story Judge

Week of May 29, 2011—Lessons from My Mentors
Tuesday, May 31—Confessions of a Short Story Judge

Today is the first of three posts from Jamie Morris. Jamie is a writing coach, writing workshop leader, and developmental editor living in Central Florida. Co-presenter--with award-winning author Joyce Sweeney--of The Next Level Craft Intensives, Jamie also specializes in working with first-time authors, using what some call her "literary sixth sense." She shares her digs with two amazing feline pals, black-as-night Jake and his wild-and-crazy brother, Bertie Botts. Visit Jamie (and Jake and Bert) at http://www.woodstreamwriters.com/, or contact her directly at Jamie@WoodstreamWriters.com.

Once, at a horse show, I watched a pair of judges assess the relative merits of a ring full of huge, glossy Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, and other warm-blood hunter-types in a conformation class. Unlike most skill-based horse-show events, conformation ribbons are awarded to those animals who best meet the standards of excellence for the physical characteristics of their breed.
More like the Westminster Dog Show than a canine agility event, in other words.
On that afternoon, almost hidden in the forest of sixteen- and seventeen-hand high bay- and chestnut-colored hunters flanking either side of it, a tiny black-and-white Shetland pony arched its short, chunky pony neck. "How cute," the spectator closest to me murmured, "but how disappointed its little owner will be. There's no chance for her to get even a look-in with that sort of competition."
And yet, twenty minutes later, it was exactly that "little owner," a six-year old girl dressed in black and white to match her pony, who paraded her Shetland around the perimeter of the ring, blue ribbon oh-so-proudly affixed to its bridle, two big bays and a chestnut following behind with their second, third, and fourth place ribbons dangling from their astonished owners' hands.
No sentimental decision, the judges had weighed the equine contestants' attributes fairly. The Shetland pony, small and unassuming as it seemed amidst the tall, regal company, was in fact a perfect specimen of its type and well-deserving of the win.
Recently, I judged a short story contest. In four days, I read fifty-one stories that spanned a myriad of genres. Not Thoroughbreds and Shetlands, but fantasy, suspense, sci-fi, romance, and contemporary/realistic--as well as a single picture-book text.
Along with the stories, I was given a judging rubric: I was to assign each story a score on literary  attributes like character development and dialogue; continuity and flow; descriptive language and imagery; and punctuation and grammatical correctness.
As a whole, the stories were competently constructed and smooth-surfaced. No doubt, these were writers that had studied their craft.
Yet, as I read through the three-thousand-words-or-less stories, I noticed some failed to engage my interest because they lacked a distinctive voice. Some delivered a strong enough voice, but the stories themselves were so predictable I could tell where they were headed before I'd clocked even a couple of paragraphs--while those that found a fresh approach did not, for the most part, complete a narrative arc.
And then there was the picture book!
In a quick, bright voice, the PB writer created an engaging pair of characters--a grandmother and her six-year old granddaughter--who found themselves in an exciting and unexpected muddle over the destruction of the grandmother's Sunday-best real-human-hair wig. Together, the characters struggled, they lost, they struggled some more--and then they triumphed!
Reading this story, I realized that the qualities I value most in a narrative work weren't even listed on the rubric!
In less than five hundred (grammatically correct!) words, the lone PB writer managed to incorporate three elements I now understand as vital for the success of even the shortest of narrative forms: (1) a distinctive voice, (2) a fresh, unexpected, or surprising story element, and (3) a complete narrative arc.
While the competitors' stories--like those big, beautifully burnished Thoroughbreds I admired so many years ago--might have had size on their side, might have boasted weightier topics or more sophisticated story structures than the unassuming little picture book, not one of them made it to the finish line with all of three of those important elements in place.
If this were a horse show, make no mistake, Grandma's real-hair wig would be sporting a brand-new, bright blue, First Place ribbon the next time she hoisted it atop her head and tottered up the aisle to her favorite pew.
It’s Your Turn! (Rob says so)
1. Look at your most recent manuscript. Does it include Jamie’s Big Three—a distinctive voice; a fresh, unexepected, or surprising story element; and (3) a complete narrative arc? Personally reflection is the key to improvement and growth. Go ahead, reflect!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

This is a photo of the Sanders family circa 1964. I’m in the front row. On the left in the front are my cousins Lou Ann and Donna, then my sister, Pat, me, and my “twin” cousin, Linda. My mom is standing behind Donna (with a stunning faux fur collar I’d like to point out). My dad is in the back row on the far left and between Mom and Dad stands Grandpa Sanders. Lou Walter Sanders (my middle name—Lou—comes from Grandpa), was a veteran of World War I, a shoe cobbler, a sharecropper farmer, and the father of six children—all represented with their families in this photo.

Only four adults in this photo are still living—Uncle Richard, Aunt Becky, Uncle Lars, and Aunt Sylvia. All of the cousins, except my brother, Butch, (far right with the dark, framed glasses) are still living. No doubt your family, like mine, has war veterans whom we honor on this Memorial Day. And no doubt, your family, like mine, has lost precious loved ones whom we also pause to remember and celebrate today.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Coming This Week!

Week of May 29, 2011—Lessons from My Mentors
Quote of the week:
“You understand now that the more you give, the more you have left to give?”
—from Sharing Susan by Eve Bunting

I chose the quote above because this week I want you to meet two people who give more to writers than anyone else I know. Jamie Morris and Joyce Sweeney are two of my mentors. I met Joyce at an SCBWI, Florida, Picture Book intensive and then met Jamie when she and Joyce led a Marketing Intensive (one of their many Next Level Intensives) I attended.  What I have found in Joyce and Jamie are two people who share a common purpose/mission/goal: to help writers grow and develop and get published!

As a friend recently pointed out to me, all writers have the goal to get published. I agree. But most writers don’t go at it intentionally and few have someone in their corner who cheers them on and guides them through the journey. I’ve mentioned before how I’ve found the children’s writing community to be one of encouragement and people willing helping one another. Joyce and Jamie (who probably would say they aren’t really picture book experts, though they are) are among my most helpful supporters and loudest cheerleaders!

Jamie and Joyce are sharing from their hearts and their work this week. Jamie has contributed three posts that will reveal important qualities needed in our writing and in our writing careers. Joyce is sharing how she found her ultimate writing passion and how she’s living out that passion. You’re in for a treat this week!

Monday—Happy Memorial Day!
Tuesday—Confessions of a Short Story Judge, Jamie Morris
Wednesday— Cart Horse, Jamie Morris
Thursday— Risky Business, Jamie Morris
Friday— Finding Your Passion, Joyce Sweeney

Lists, The Rule of Three, and Repetition

Week of May 22—Pacing a Picture Book
Friday, May 27—Lists, The Rule of Three, and Repetition

As I was beginning to write today’s post, I decided to randomly select a picture book from my bookshelf to see if I could find the three pacing examples I want to discuss—lists, the rule of three, and repetition. And what did I pull off the shelf? Hogg, Hogg, & Hog by Margie Palatini.

Leave it to Margie to sum up all three of my points in her title! Throughout the book I found examples of three points on page after page. For instance:

IT’S BIG BUSINESS AT . . . (p. 3)

Notice the list of three things, notice the repetition of the word big/biggest three times. Even though commas separate these phrases, I find myself pausing after each comma and then continuing, like a reporter or the voiceover on a movie trailer. Lists, the rule of three, and repetition created that pacing.

Pacing with Lists
Writers uses lists for many purposes: adding details, summing up info in a condensed space, and for pacing. I gave some examples of lists used for pacing in yesterday’s post. One additional example of a list being used to speed up pacing comes from Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant and Lauren Stringer:

Yes, birds. Crows, grackles, starlings, jays. Ask them how they feel about a scarecrow, and they’ll say, “Lovely.” (p. 8)

The Rule of Three
Good things come in threes in picture books. A triad of words or phrases is pleasing to the ear and gives a feeling of completeness. One less and you feel unsatisfied, one more and it feels overdone.

OINK! What an idea!”
“Amazing! Genius! Brilliant!”
“Hogg, Hogg, or Hog . . .
how did you think of OINK?” (p. 11)

The rule of three usually causes the pacing to slow a bit as the reader emphasis each word. I find myself slowing down in both of the rule-of-three phrases above. Here’s another rule-of-three example:

Yes, Hogg, Hogg, and Hog were the most famous, fabulous, successful Big Pigs to ever leave the farm and make it in the BIG CITY. (p. 13)

Famous, fabulous, and successful are descriptive of the hog trio’s collective career and the list/rule of three makes me slow down and emphasize each word. (I want you to realize, too, that when we use the rule of three we are making a list, too. It’s a double duty craft! LOL!)

You’ll find more rules of three throughout the book: Sheep, Duck, Frog. AND Baa. Quack. Ribbit, for instance.

Here’s a gorgeous example of a rule of three from Scarecrow. What I love about this excerpt is that we’re not dealing with single words or phrases, but rather complete sentences that make the rule of three.

He has been with the owls in evening and the rabbits at dawn. He has watched a spider work for hours making a web like lace. He has seen the sun tremble and the moon lie still. (p. 17)

Did your reading slow down as you went from first one, then another, and then another sentence? The use of the rule of three caused the pacing to slow down.

Did you notice in that last excerpt that not only was there a rule of three, but there was also repetition? Using the words He has to begin each sentence causes a rhythmic pace. Repetition is used extensively in picture books. A list could be considered repetition. The rule of three could be considered repetition. Our there could be outright repetition as in this excerpt from Hogg, Hogg, and Hog:

OINK! What an idea!”
“Amazing! Genius! Brilliant!”
“Hogg, Hogg, or Hog . . .
how did you think of OINK?
When did you think of OINK?”
Where did you think of OINK?”
Why OINK?”
Who OINKED first?”
What’s the next BIG OINK?” (p. 11)

It’s no mistake that Margie Palatini used oink/oinked seven times on that page. That list, that repetition is intentional, or purposeful. Yes, purposeful repetition. Not just repeating things willy-nilly, but with purpose and intent.

Ok, I could go on forever pulling books from the shelf and pointing out lists, repetition, and rules of three that create pacing. But why should I have all the fun?

It’s Your Turn!
1. Go on a craft hunt! See what lists, repetition, of use of the rule of three you can find. Pause to note how these writing crafts impact the pacing of a story.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sentence Variety

Week of May 22—Pacing a Picture Book
Thursday, May 26—Sentence Variety

My apologies . . . I’m late with a couple of posts this week!

When you read a picture book aloud, how do you know when to speed up your reading or to slow it down? How do you know to make a dramatic pause or let your reading pick up speed like a locomotive? The text gives you the road signs to guide you through the story—that’s how. Though it may sound overly simplistic, short sentences usually speed up the pacing, while longer, more complex sentences slow down the pacing.

To illustrate the powerful way sentence variety can impact pacing, we’re going to look at a classic picture book, Scarecrow, by Cynthia Rylant and Lauren Stringer. Even this quiet tale has pacing changes which are almost exclusive created through sentence variety.

The Long and Short of It
Or, in this example, the short and long of it. Read the two sentences below and feel how the pacing changes.

He knows he isn’t real. A scarecrow understands right away that he is just borrowed parts made to look like somebody. (p. 12)

I read the first sentence quickly. A simple, quick fact. Then I slow down with the long explanation filled with details. Long sentences aren’t long for the sake of being long, they are long to provide details. Those details often are little speed bumps in pacing that help the reader slow down and reflect.

Fragments Can Put on the Brakes
When I turn from page 12 to 13 in Scarecrow, I hit this sentence fragment.

But a scarecrow’s life is all his own.

The fragment literally throws on the brakes in the story. Because it’s a fragment, an added-on thought, additional information, it seems important. So I stop when I read it. The illustrator has skillfully used this phrase at the top of a beautiful two-page spread that has no other text. The illustrator felt the brakes go on in the story, and she laid the book out to show the pause in the action caused by the sentence fragment.

By the way, forget what your high school English teacher taught you about fragments. Sentence fragments are perfectly acceptable in writing. You’ll find fragments in best-selling novels, The Wall Street Journal, text books, and just about every other form of written communication. To successfully use sentence fragments, however, you must mean to. An accidental fragment is a mistake, an intentional fragment used to create pacing, or add an additional detail, etc., is a writing craft. Intention is the key.

The Power of Lists
Now, I don’t want to confuse anyone, but lists can be used to slow down the pace of the story or to quicken the pace. Look at this series with commas (followed by a sentence fragment) and feel the slow pace.

His hat is borrowed, his suit is borrowed, his hands are borrowed, even his head is borrowed. And his eyes probably came out of someone’s drawer. (p. 2)

As I read this excerpt, I find myself pausing after each comma. Not only are the commas in this series slowing down the pace, so is the repetition of borrowed. I find that each comma makes me read the next phrase more emphatically. I feel this happening to me as I read . . .

His hat is borrowed, his suit is borrowed, his hands are borrowed, even his head is borrowed. And his eyes probably came out of someone’s drawer. (p. 2)

The commas in this series not only slow down the pacing, they dictate the emphasis the readers places on the words. On the other hand, a list can speed up the pacing. Consider this example from page 18 of Scarecrow:

The scarecrow doesn’t care what he is made of or how long he might last, for he has been a witness to life. The earth has rained and snowed and blossomed and wilted and yellowed and greened and vined itself all around him.

When you hit the sentence “The earth has rained and snowed . . . “ did you feel your pace pick up? Each and propels you into the next and sends you barreling through the list. This time, instead of commas being speed bumps to slow us down, they become hands pushing us forward. Lists can be powerful pacing tools—it’s all in how you use them.

Here’s another and phrase that has the same speeding-up effect:

But he knows this, too: that there is a certain wonder going on around him. Seeds are being planted, and inside them there are ten-foot-tall sunflowers and mammoth pumpkins and bean that just go on forever. (p. 15)

Though this is a long, complex sentence, we don’t slow down. The ands are pushing us forward again. Thus, Rylant gives us the glorious details without obstructing the flow of the story.

The Magic of Ellipses
Ellipses—or as my students call it, “Dot, dot, dot”—is a magical pacing tool. Ellipses can serve as transitions, they can create a cliff hanger, they can precede a list, and more. But what they always do is slow down the pacing of a story. The example below shows ellipses prior to a page turn and another ellipses after the page turn.

The scarecrow is thinking his long, slow thoughts . . .

. . . and soon, birds will be coming by. (pp. 29-31)

Instead of slamming on the pacing brakes, ellipses bring you to a slow, gentle pause.

It’s Your Turn!
1. Looking through a favorite book to discover how an author has created pacing is magical. I hope you’ll do some searching of your own today. Especially notice how sentence variety is affecting the pacing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Transitions and Time Compression

Week of May 22—Pacing a Picture Book
Wednesday, May 25—Transitions and Time Compression

Read the phrases below. Place a check mark in each box that represents something you have been told about your writing.

r Choppy
r Disjointed
r Jumps around a lot
r Doesn’t flow
r Lacks a feeling of wholeness

Ok, NONE of us have heard things like that about OUR writing, but we’ve seen it in the writing of others, no doubt! J

Many times I see choppy, disjoined writing from adult writers and from the children I teach. More than once after I’ve helped a classroom teacher evaluate a stack of writing papers, I’ve said, “The next step for your students is transitions.”  Transitions can be the next step for you, too. Transitions can smooth out a piece of writing, create flow, and develop pacing.

Transition Words and Phrases
Transition words and phrases can serve many purposes, but think of them as the joiners or connectors. Transitions can indicate cause and effect, develop comparisons, and help make emphases. For picture book writers transitions can be used to connect:

r Time segments
r Events
r Location and setting
r Direction

I introduce transitions to students by reading an excerpt from Granny Torelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech. There is a wonder excerpt in the book that shows the process of Granny and two kids making soup. The transitions literally move the reader from one place to another in the kitchen, from one culinary action to the next, and one from feeling or emotion to the next.

With that first exposure to transitions, my students and I begin an anchor chart list of transitions. From that day on, every time we find a new transition word in a mentor text, hear one spoken, find one when reading independently or in shared reading, we add it to the chart. Soon the chart has filled several sheets of chart paper. My students and I have no excuse not to use transitions since there are so many to choose from!

Last year, I visited a first-grade classroom and taught a lesson about transitions. One of the students from that class—Claudio—still hunts me up at school at least once a week and reports: “I’m still using transitions!” Here’s the mini-list of transitions I presented to Claudio’s class. Maybe the list will get transitions stirring in your brain.

A Mini List of Transition Words
r First                         r Now                       r Soon
r Next                        r Before long             r Then
r So                           r At last                     r Slowly
r Quickly                    r Immediately            r In a flash
r Two minutes later     r When                      r And

Punctuation as Transition
Picture book writers often use punctuation to form transitions, too. Ellipses and dashes are the two most common examples.

Time Compression
One of the great wonders of transitions is that they can move us weeks, months, even years into the future. Just by writing Ten years later or Just before midnight or In the blink of an eye, time is moved forward. All the events in between, the unimportant, the mundane, can just be skipped over with the use of a transition.

Transitions in Action
If you don’t know the book The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger, you’ve been missing out on a great read. Berger’s simple, masterful text and lively illustrations bring this quiet story to life. The book also includes some stellar examples of transitions.

A chill filled the air . . . and the sun sank slow. (pp. 18-19)

And then . . . and then, high up on an icy branch, a scarlet flash. One more leaf holding tight. (p. 27)

Neither spoke. Finally . . .
“Will you?” asked the Little Scarlet Leaf.
“I will!” said the Little Yellow Leaf.
And one, two, three, they let go and soared. (pp. 29-31)

From: The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

It’s Your Turn!
1. Why not start your own anchor chart list of transition words, phrases, and punctuation marks? You’ll find you’ll be using those transitions to make connections the rest of your writing life!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's All About the Dummy, Dummy

Week of May 22—Pacing a Picture Book
Tuesday, May 24—It’s All About the Dummy, Dummy

Why, oh why, oh why must I learn the same lesson over and over again? I often finish a draft, revise it a few times, and take it for critique. As I sit at the critique meeting (or read from on-line responses), I think: “Hmmmmmm . . . there’s no page turn there . . . Oh, that doesn’t flow well . . . That sounded awkward . . . Oops! I should have caught that.” I seem to always forget: It’s All About the Dummy, Dummy!

To test out a picture book manuscript’s flow and pacing, you need to take the manuscript to the dummy stage. During a critique session an editor once told me, “It’s a nice story. Now you have to make it into a picture book manuscript.” Yikes! The first step in that process is the picture book dummy. Writers use many approaches to complete their dummies. Illustrators go even further in the process that they call storyboarding. Illustrators use storyboarding to make sure words and images mesh together to tell the story. Writers use dummies to make sure the story, itself, is paced and flows.

Some approaches writers use for creating their dummies include:
1.      The Slash Method. Joyce Sweeney taught me this approach . . . draw a slash on our manuscript each time a scene changes. Number the scenes. Now you know the number of scenes needing illustrations. Most 32-page picture books need 16-24 scenes.
2.      The Poster Method. At an SCBWI—Florida conference, author Laurie Friedman said she divides a sheet of poster board into 32 equal squares. She then numbers the squares to represent the pages of a book. Since most picture books start around page 5, Laurie begins to cut and paste her text into the squares on her poster to create a dummy of the book.
3.      The Thumbnail Layout Method. My friend and fellow critique group member, Heather Lambie, developed a one-page thumbnail sheet where she could note what part of the text falls on each page.
4.      Dummied-up Book Method. I use a combination of the above approaches and make a dummy book where I can tape my manuscript.

The supplies are simple: eight sheets of paper (I prefer legal size), stapler, pencil, scissors, and tape.

Steps to making a Dummied-up Book:
1.      Stack the pages together and fold them in half. Staple along the fold. Number the pages from 1 to 32.
2.      Use the slash method mentioned above to determine the scenes in your manuscript.
3.      Cut and tape the scenes on the pages. Begin on page 5 (the first four pages are usually reserved for front matter in a picture book).
4.      Think through the illustrations that will be on each page.
5.      Now the hard work begins. Read through your “book” and evaluate the pacing and flow. Does the pacing encourage page turns? Is the story evenly spread from beginning to end? Is each scene illustratable? Make notes on the manuscript for revisions.
NOTE: I often go through several versions of a Dummied-up Book before I get to the final stage of the manuscript.

During a consultation at SCBWI, LA, Diane Muldrow, senior editor with Golden Books/Random House, gave me the following notes. I think you’ll find Diane’s words on pacing and flow helpful.

     The visuals are not just the illustrator’s responsibility. When it comes to a picture book, the writer will have a better chance of getting published if he/she has thought cinematically . . . take your story and think about the format. Do you see it as a jacketed hardcover? These are usually 40 pages; page out your text accordingly, and write art notes for each page—this will force you to think cinematically, and to think about the flow of the story. Page it out for flow. This is where the writing really starts to happen: Flow is very important; turning the page to see what happens next is a big part of the picture book experience. A lot of thought must go into where you text ends on one page and what starts on the next, and what scene you want the reader to see on each page or spread, and how that scene moves the plot along. Think of the scene, and place the corresponding text there. Make sure the first line of your text matches what the reader is seeing.

After you do this you’ll have not a story, but a picture book manuscript, and you’ll see how much text is on each page, whether the book runs long or short, etc.

Thanks, Diane, for those wise words!

It’s Your Turn!
1. Using one of your manuscripts, make a Dummied-up Book today! Then check your pacing and flow. Tomorrow we’ll begin to discuss ways to improve pacing in our manuscripts.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Bit about Pacing

Week of May 22—Pacing a Picture Book
Monday, May 23—A Bit about Pacing

Lately, I’ve noticed that I say similar things in many of my critiques:  
·         Not paced like a picture book,
·         Lacking pacing,
·         Pacing is off,
·         The story doesn’t move.

A skillfully paced picture book can speed us through action, whirling us toward the climax. Or a well-paced book can slow the action making us sense a dilemma, a character’s feelings, or the importance of a moment. A book with stellar pacing compels us to turn the page.

But when I try to explain what I mean in my pacing critiques, I am often at a loss for words. I can demonstrate what I mean by rewriting a few lines of a manuscript, but explaining how to pace the story is much more difficult. Part of my problem is that I am an intuitive writer. I feel what to do, I hear what to do, I don’t always know what to do. Don’t get me wrong, I read a lot of books and articles about writing, I study the writing of others, I analyze what I see working in great books. But after all of that, I internalize what I learn, see, or discover and it becomes part of my intuitive approach.

As a matter of fact, I teach my students to be intuitive writers. I tell them, “Let your ears be your first audience” . . . in other words, if something doesn’t sound right to your ears, change it until it does. It is that not sounding right that leads to the realization that there may be pacing issues in a piece of writing. (Of course, it’s so much easier to spot (and hear) pacing issues in others writing than in your own!)

I have realized why I don’t have much of a pacing vocabulary. I’ve discovered few books on the subject. As a matter of fact, I think there’s only one in the educational world of writing—Fluent Writing: How to Teach the Art of Pacing by Denise Leograndis. Our quote of week is from Leograndis’ book:

Pacing is all that makes the flow, the balance, the rhythm of the story. (p. 12)

Leograndis also describes pacing as being “big” and “small.” “Big” pacing relates to the story as a whole, while “small” pacing relates to drilling down to the sentence level and analyzing the flow. Leograndis further writes about the big three that help writers develop pacing—content, conventions, and craft. .

As we begin looking at pacing in our writing, I suggest that we explore a few books with exceptional pacing first. I’m going to suggest you read two “quiet,” slowly-paced picture books, a picture book with moderate pacing, and two fast-paced, active picture books.

Let me chance a rabbit first, however. A friend recently sent me a link to author and agent Mandy Hubbard’s blog. Mandy recently made a trip to NYC to find out what editors were looking for. Her take-away about picture books is (and this won’t surprise most of you) that most editors are not looking for quiet, sweet books. They are looking for fun books, often with humor. (Read the post at http://mandyhubbard.livejournal.com/250104.html.) While I am listing “quiet” books below to illustrate pacing, remember that those types of books may not be what editors are looking for at this moment in time. HOWEVER, the pacing in those books is timeless and illustrates what we should be striving for.


The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant and Bonnie Kelly-Young

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas


Brontorina by James Howe and Randy Cecil


Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka and David Shannon

Avalanche Annie: A Not-So-Tall Tale by Lisa Wheeler and Kurt Cyrus

It’s Your Turn!
1. As you read stellar picture books with superb pacing, note what is making the pacing happen. Think about Denise Leograndis’ big three: content, conventions, and crafts. See what you can discover and then we’ll continue our discussion about pacing in tomorrow’s post.