Cut to the Chase

I’ve finished one chase scene in my Italian chase novel, and I’m in the middle of working on another one.  I’m finding that one of the challenges is deciding when it’s time to cut to the chase.  How much space should I dedicate to a description of the Scrovegni Chapel, the Basilica Palladiana or the Grand Canal?  Establishing a sense of place is important; establishing characters is even more important.  But how much is enough? How much is too much?  I always rely on feedback to help me figure out things like this.  But this time around, I have a number of friends who are enjoying the scenery, but they’re not sure whether I’m advancing the action quickly enough for readers who might not have the same level of interest.


5 Responses to “Cut to the Chase”

  1. Natalie Aguirre Says:

    Finding the right balance is always hard. Good luck.

  2. Ron Says:

    Unless yo are writing a literary novel, or one like Stephen King which can be 500 or more pages, it’s always best to move the story along. Otherwise you may lose the reader. I know I get bored very easily when a novel just rambles along. Then I stop reading it.Don’t get bogged down with too much description. Let your characters emerge in the scenes with their words or actions. You don’t need to list their physical or personal characteristics all at once. I had the same questions when I wrote Alien Assistant which is now on Amazon. As Natalie said in her comment above, find a balance.

  3. Ann Finkelstein Says:

    I’m bad at this, but I’m going to make a suggestion anyway. I try to write what my character would notice and delete the rest. A few vivid details in a description will let the reader imagine the remainder. On the other hand, your novel is set in a unique place, one that many American readers wouldn’t be familiar with, so you could lean toward more description. A sense of place in your novel will be vital.

  4. Kristin Wolden Nitz Says:

    I appreciate the feedback. Since I always struggle with description, I’m usually a minimalist. So it’s very strange to have various critique partners suggest cuts!

    But I know from SAVING THE GRIFFIN that I have a tendency to send characters to places that I’d like to visit. I hae to avoid the tendency of turning my chase novel into a travelogue. But I alsojust read THE NIGHT VILLA on the advice of a YA editor who attended the Missouri retreat. Description galore! So I am seriously torn.

  5. 22,222 Words « Nitz Bits Says:

    […] was about 28,000 words into the Italian Chase Novel and wondering about whether or not I needed to Cut to the Chase.  Were things moving too slowly? Was I adding in too much description? Two weeks later, my agent […]

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