There are a lot of ways you can control the pacing without adding in action scenes or huge blocks of narration. Certainly a chase scene or that suspenseful moment will keep your readers turning those pages, but consider several other writing techniques:
- Shorten your sentences
- Smaller paragraphs
Hemingway was able to keep the pace of the story moving simply by providing shorter sentences. He limited the depth of each of the sentences and gave the reader little to have to consider. On the other hand, Faulkner really forces the reader to have to slow down and digest all of the information.
Another technique readers can use is balancing out dialogue and narration. We can get that needed information to readers either through the characters telling the readers, or you as the author through narration. Both techniques are fine, but you need to understand that dialogue is a great way to make the story move a bit faster.
Finally, you can consider simple time shifts in your story. Let's say that you have a scene with the husband and wife at home. They are struggling with being forced to go to a family dinner where neither really wants to be. So, we get the whole scene at home, and then the author puts the two into a car and we follow them across town. Because they are both angry, we get a huge narration of the silence in the car, or the radio, or the noise from the outside street. This slows us down.
But, if the author really wants to pick things up, then eliminate the scene at home, and the car scene and simply jump to the family gathering. You can highlight the earlier conversation, and mention the car ride and get people right into the real tension of the evening.
The key is to know when it is needed to keep things moving and when to slow things down. One area where I am always seeing the readers rush through are those bedroom scenes. Quit the talking. Quit the thinking and enjoy the moment. These are moments for the characters to really slow down and enjoy, giving the readers a chance to feel the emotion.
Going grocery shopping? We can rush through that.
So, when you look at your story. Don't panic if things are slow or moving too fast. Just consider if that is the right time to change the pace. That will be the key.