August 30, 2016

Olympics, Balance and Writing––What Do They Have in Common?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine 

A great deal of the world watched the Olympics. The men and women who competed have above average skills and abilities. Obviously they have worked and trained to achieve these levels. Accolades should be showered on all of them.

Among the people watching the Olympics are authors of all levels including beginning writers.  I am curious as to how many stories will be written about the one disgrace instead of all the wonderful achievements attained and the people who won the medals. How much focus will be put on these men and women compared to the focus that will be put on Ryan Lochte.

The media has made a field day of that mistake; certainly it should not have been hidden, but balance is important.

When we write our stories, it is important for us to keep in mind balance and where to use it to bring the stability to the story that is needed. Balance can be defined as the power to decide an outcome by throwing one's strength, influence, support, or the like, to one side or the other. As authors that’s what we do because we wield that power in creating our characters moves, their dialogue, plots and scenes. When we allow ourselves to unbalance different areas in our story, it becomes one-sided and can cause the reader confusion. More important it can cause a tension level that makes the reader feel uncomfortable.

It is important to be able as a writer to weigh the story. To make sure different elements that are needed in the story are in the correct proportions to keep our readers involved in and coming back to read more of our work.

Gloria Kempton wrote an article, “How to Balance Action, Narrative and Dialogue in Your Novel” in which she said, “Most of the time, we want to balance our scenes using three elements of fiction: dialogue, action and narrative. This is one reason you want to put your character in a scene with other characters as often as possible. Scenes that weave together these three elements engage the reader at an emotional level much more effectively than scenes that are only dialogue, only narrative or only action.” Click to see the full article.

We can keep the balance of our story by making sure we use the right elements when they are needed. 

How do you know you have balance in your story? It will flow.

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