The Tao of Novel Pacing
When I'm finished writing my outline at the novel's beginning stages I go through and what each chapter is. In the margins I write action, tension, or development. Action means the chapter is fast paced with a fight scene or something exciting happening. Tension means a tense point in the story that isn't necessarily action but isn't down time either. Development might mean character or plot. It's a point in the story where something is experienced or learned that gives the reader a chance to catch their breath.
Next I make sure there is a good balance throughout the novel. It should rise and fall. There should be enough development chapters between the tension and action chapters to keep the reader from getting overwhelmed, and yet enough action and tension chapters to keep the excitement going. If you don't outline prior to writing your novel that's okay, just figure out afterward where each chapter falls and make sure you've achieved that balance.
Check out this post from Writer's Digest on 5 Easy Tips to Strengthen Your Scenes.
Want to know where I got my inspiration for the Tao of Novel Pacing? Check out this novel by my idol.