Sheila's Motto

"Endeavor to enhance the lives of others through education and encouragement."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Writing Techniques ~~ Balance

Balance can be associated with gymnastics, scales, scorecards, life, health, walking, wheel alignments, your bank statement, and many other things. How can you implement it in your writing?  Why is it important?

Step 1: Balance helps to establish a sense of progression.

Select a scene toward the beginning of your manuscript and another one either in the middle or near the end.  What has happened to the characters in the interim?  An example would be one in which the opening chapter features a castle in a state of disrepair since your fantasy aristocracy has fallen upon hard times.  In Chapter 12, francium has been discovered by the Cofferer in the northwest quadrant of the bailey.

Image result for what is francium

Eurkea overnight, the cast is dressed to the nines, royal dainties are served non-stop, and the mules have been replaced with million dollar thoroughbreds. Using this basic narrative, what is the net effect of the progression?  Is it positive or negative?  What writing techniques have you used to achieve this outcome?

In one of my prior blog posts, I touched on the flow of writing.  Some aspects mentioned therein could be joined with balance.  Here is the link:

Step 2: Progression achieved through balance reinforces theme.

If you’ve predetermined that your particular project is theme based, balance will be of utmost importance to you.  Careful construction will prevent overuse of your theme or such scant use the reader is unable to discern it in the first place.  For instance, if your basic theme is forgiveness, there are a plethora of ways to weave this into your writing to achieve an even distribution of it.  Does your project include a theme?

Step 3:  Dodge the ditches.

Have you ever ditched something?  In Step 1, we touched on the characters, but what about the plot?  If your story stays balanced, this will help prevent it from getting off in the barrow pit which may cause a reader to ditch it as well. Let’s say you have a scene where an employee is about to be terminated by a well known corporation whose headquarters are on the top floor of a swank high rise commercial building. 

If you devote four pages to explain every step of the soon to be ex-employee leaving his apartment, getting into his car, driving to the meeting, attempting to parallel park on the street; one line where the boss tells him he's fired, and five subsequent pages describing his exit from the building, it could be that some of your enthusiasts will quit turning the pages. They'll be looking for File 13 or headed to the closest thrift shop to add to their annual non-cash charitable contributions.

Step 4:  Pick and practice your act.

A gymnast needs a balance beam to practice his skill.  During the summer months of my brother’s collegiate gymnastics career, he fashioned a set of still rings between two tall cottonwood trees in our yard.  Use what is readily available to you.  Most writers have other books or movies in their homes or apartments.  Select one of your favorites from there or your local library. Repetitive reading or watching can assist you with being able to spot where your fellow author or the filmmaker completed his balancing act.  How would you rate his act along with your own?

Step 5:  The Greek Team.

After you’ve done the best you can with your manuscript, dial up your alpha and omega team.  Instruct your alpha or beta readers to make notations concerning balance as they work their way through the pages.  Your omega team member, i.e., your editor, will definitely appreciate your balancing efforts.  The ones who will benefit the most are your readers because you will have put your work in a steady position or framework so that it does not fall.

As we continue to practice our craft, we can achieve spectacular results. Speaking of spectacular, check out this stellar image relating to balance which is located in our great state.

                                                       Image result for images for Balanced Rock in southern Idaho'

South of Buhl in the Salmon Falls Creek Canyon stands the famous Balanced Rock. Over 48 feet tall and 40 tons, the wind-carved rock balances precariously on a pedestal only 3 feet by 17 inches. Nearby Balanced Rock Park is an excellent spot for a picnic.
Fellow authors would benefit from reading your comments regarding how you have managed to apply balance in your writing.  Thank you for your participation.  The rising tide benefits all ships!

Watch for my next blog post regarding additional writing techniques.
In the interim, stay balanced, and write well!

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this gold Sheila. I love your heart so much!