Eat Your Words: Narrative Pace and Melt
Devouring books and crafting meals is great – but sounding smart while you do it is even better. That’s why we’re teaching you to eat your words. In this weekly guide, we introduce one literary device (PAPER) and one culinary term (PLATES) everyone should know.
Narrative pace (noun): the speed at which a story progresses; the progression from one point in the story to another.
Example: In her review of Sweet Tooth, Saniya Husain refers to the novel as a "slow burn." In this case, she is commenting on the story's narrative pace, which is, evidently, gradual and deliberate. Narrative pace often relates to the story's genre (action and adventure novels tend to move fast, for example) or mood (authors sometimes slow the pace way down to impart the feeling of monotony or boredom). Therefore, narrative pace is less about the length of the story than it is about how quickly the plot moves from one moment to the next.
Melt (verb): to dissolve or liquefy through the application of heat.
Example: The surprise in Saniya's disappearing marshmallow puffs manifests after they come out of the oven. While the puff pastry-wrapped marshmallows bake away, the intense heat causes them to melt. Over time, they lose their shape and become liquid, a sort of sweet, sticky goo that coats the inside of the puff. That's why, when bitten, the puff seems empty and the magic of the disappearing marshmallow is complete.
See past installments by visiting our Eat Your Words archive!