There’s an art to pacing the action.
by Andy Scheer
I hope the action in your novel’s not like the fireworks display this weekend.
I’d been looking forward to the show, in a town an hour away. We’d arranged to spend the night with family, whose house was a twenty minute walk from the fireworks park.
We arrived a half-hour before we expected the show to start. We set up our chairs, watched a volleyball game, and waited.
Clouds blew in and a few sprinkles fell. We kept waiting.
Outside the park, a few people set off their own fireworks. But it wasn’t the main show, so we kept waiting.
The rain increased, and we put on waterproof jackets, occasionally checked our watches, and kept waiting.
For a half-hour, we sat in the rain, watching the ball field where the fireworks would be launched. Bright lights blazed. People a few blocks away kept launching an occasional rocket, but nothing like the big event.
The expected showtime came. Still we waited. Finally the rain stopped.
A half-hour late, the ball field lights dimmed. For several minutes, nothing.
At last the fireworks began.
We saw one after another after another—with no time between rockets.
I’d seen nothing like it. One after another after another—with no time between rockets. While one shot faded, another was spread in all its glory and another had just exploded. Meanwhile another three had been launched in quick succession.
Many of the people appreciated the nonstop action. But it left me breathless – and disappointed.
With no time in between, I couldn’t savor each explosion’s artistry. And I had no time to anticipate the next. They launched forty-five minutes worth of fireworks in fifteen minutes.
Considering the organizers had delayed the show for thirty minutes, I thought they’d have recognized the power of anticipation.