Film growth consists of two basic processes, deposition and surface relaxation, with opposing effects on the evolution of surface roughness. The pulsed-laser deposition (PLD) growth process has the unique feature of having periods of very high deposition rates on μs time scales followed by periods, on the order of seconds, with only surface relaxation. In this paper we report the first efforts towards exploiting this unique feature to study these two basic processes independently. Thin epitaxial films of ZnSe were grown using PLD on (001) GaAs and 2° miscut (001) GaAs substrates. For growth on both the singular and vicinal surfaces, RHEED patterns taken following growth showed clear, streaky first zone and sharp second zone spots, and well-defined Kikuchi lines; these features are indicative of a smooth growth surface and high quality film. No reconstruction of the growth surface was observed, in contrast to behavior observed in molecular beam epitaxy. Time-resolved RHEED measurements show that a single morphology developed during growth on singular (001) GaAs. However, during growth on miscut (001) GaAs, two morphologies developed, one transitory and one appearing to evolve towards steady state. When growth on the miscut substrate was stopped, recovery of the RHEED signal was observed. The rate of recovery could be attributed to two relaxation processes, as differentiated by their time constants. Potential origins of these observations are discussed.