L is for Lull
Does there have to be a lull in the action? Or can it just keep going and going?
Everything needs to rest, doesn’t it? Energy needs energy and it’s not endless, it has to come from somewhere and it has to stop. What about the plot, the action the dialogue? Do readers need a break, or at least a change of pace, direction, or point of view?
Sure, you can drive straight for 500 miles, stop only for gas, and just go go go. But what’s the point? You got from A to B. Do readers just want to get from A to B? If the action or drama are the peaks, do you need valleys? How deep are they, how long do they go? Are they just for a breather or are they an important part of the overarching story?
Does the reader need the occasional breather?
But reading isn’t like jogging. You can stop when you like and it’s not terribly exhausting. But you may need a mental break. So what’s the difference between a lull in the story, a good period of rest, and just pages of boredom where the reader gets lost, bored, or, gasp, skips ahead? Maybe that lull shouldn’t be too long! Just time to catch up, maybe a little background on the scene or the character?
The important part is that there’s a good flow to the story. If there’s some slow points or some downtime, that’s OK, especially after some heated or action-packed scenes. Writers and readers both need time to catch their breath and slow down, smell the toasted rice tea and enjoy the lull.