I learned everything I know about pacing from Sophocles.
Remember Oedipus Rex? First off, the townspeople come to King Oedipus and detail how everything is going to hell in a handbasket. "I know," says he, "and I've sent my bro-in-law, Creon, off to consult the oracles at Delphi (the local psychic hot line) to find out what's coming down. Oh, look--Creon's just gotten back!"
How's that for a quick five minutes of script?
The story builds and builds, with the the audience catching on quickly. Finally, at the climax, Oedipus learns what everyone else has long since figured out and the denouement is swift. His wife/mother hangs herself while he skewers his eyeballs with the pins from her robe.
And that's the technique my romantic novels are based on. Less the blood and gore.