When I think about the pace of a novel, I think of a marathon*. You have to keep up a steady pace to keep your reader interested. There will be peaks and valleys, but it has to keep moving. And, like a marathon, reading a novel is voluntary. Though people don't like to drop out after beginning, they will if they lose momentum.
Pace has always been an issue for me. I'm not currently WiP-ing, but today on the drive home from work, I began to give serious thought to the WiP that I was working on when I started this blog back in January. I put it aside over the summer because it began to overwhelm me. I was doing a bunch of research (that in itself can become burdensome. Wait... is that a word?) and trying to decide if I wanted events that happened before the story to be a prologue or to work them into the story later. In short, a bunch of things made me begin to feel like I was losing control of where I wanted the story to go, and I needed to step away from the vehicle.
Why is this an issue of pace? Because my major issue is that I'm not sure where to drop backstory in while keeping the story itself moving. I don't want to break the action by blabbing on about what happened before, but the reader needs to know. How do you do that naturally? How do you "show not tell" things that have already occured? I am going to have to reread The Hunger Games like a master class in dropping the reader into the action while having a whole lot of backstory to explain. I don't remember being distracted by Panem's backstory in the series; in fact, I was hungry for as much information as I could get on what had happened before and how Panem's history had led up to The Reaping at the beginning of the first book.
I guess I'm a lazy writer, lol. I wish I could just drop my reader into the current story with an understanding of where my MC has been (and, more importantly in the beginning, where her parents have been). In my mind, I can visualize it like a movie... and when you see it, there is so much less to tell (or it's so much easier to show, lol). This is what happens when you have a hubby who teaches TV Productions and analyzes film with his classes. I could paint the backstory in a few effective shots. Opening credits. I wrote the opening backstory scene as a prologue initially, but then it's kind of an awkward transition to the present in Ch.1.
Well, I haven't looked at it since the summertime. Maybe I'll reread it and inspiration will strike. I guess it's time to wake up my muse...