The Power of Slow Stories


The speed at which the story moves.

Clarity, accent on the details, and something juicy happening — these are the basics of good storytelling.

Quick-paced story with lots happening all the time, slow when nothing much happens, or so it seems. But even in slow-paced stories things happen, and quite intensely at that. These stories have that inner movement that is concealed from the quick-screening eye. You have to slow down and look better.

Most slower-paced stories are usually character-driven stories, while faster-paced ones are plot-driven.

Slow and steady is the storytelling at its most thoughtful, most expansive, and most human. It is to look at things from multiple perspectives and sides and angles, with depth and breadth.

Fiction writers are advised to keep things fast because people are impatient now and apparently there are too many other things competing for their attention so they don’t have the time or interest for leisurely pacing. In the time of oversaturation with insane amounts of content, they want it all and they want it now.

It doesn’t mean slow stories must go away because someone somewhere can’t slow down to process them.

I must confess — I love slow stories. Slow, complex stories. They focus on plot and even more so on characters, and less on action. They hook me with the gradual descent into things, when I have the time to catch my breath and contemplate, and reflect upon what I read/watch. And adjust my expectations of a promised good ride. I love to take my time and eventually collect high returns even if waiting felt like agony (for some people). I will surely remember it better than a fast-paced roller coaster, which ends in painful withdrawal when the ride is suddenly over. Looking back at my experience I can surely say that I still remember slower, richer stories, years later, while fast ones were quickly forgotten. That’s why I will always favor slow stories. I want to re-read and re-watch and savor the details and gain a deeper appreciation for the story before me. I want that in my fiction.

Love it or hate it, my own style had developed from exposure to this particular kind of stories.

There’s nothing wrong with writing slower fiction. Life may appear like it’s happening at hyper speed, but more fascinating and exciting things in our world are the result of subtle changes and shifts over time.

Jeno Marz
JENO MARZ is a science fiction writer from Latvia, Northern Europe, with background in electronics engineering and computer science. She is the author of two serial novels, Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements and Falaha’s Journey into Pleasure. Marz is current at work on a new SF trilogy. All her fiction is aimed at an adult audience.


  1. I’m a big fan of slow stories where there is a LOT going on in the subtext of the work. That’s probably why I really liked Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying when everyone else in my reading group were pulling out their hair. 😛 I like plot-driven, fast stories too, but only if that pace doesn’t leave me without a character to care about.

    1. I hate when someone tries to dictate me how to pace my stories, and I recently had a negative review on Amazon UK where someone was whining that the pacing of my epic was too slow (among other things… that man had weird expectations, tbh). Well, yes. That’s what book previews are for. Use those to sample the book! 😀

      I don’t like too fast-paced stories, because they usually come at a cost of great character development. Unless it’s a loooooooooooong series where author had time to develop her fictional people. But no longer than 3 books please. What I prefer the most is a story where the pacing varies, but I refuse to be forced to feel (usually PAINFUL things) by some shocking twists and turns. If someone was driving like that, I’d throw up.

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