A couple of days ago I wrote about the five sense… and some! I’ve read articles about seven senses, nine senses, even more senses – and how we can use these in our writing to enhance and improve our work. I am quite poor at showing no telling – I do a heck of a lot of telling in the first draft, and then go through doing much more showing – using description, using the senses of the characters or the all-seeing authorial voice to bring to life what is happening and pull the reader right into the heart of what’s going on – well… that’s the aim anyway! My previous post about the senses focused on thermoception, sensing or experiencing temperature and changes in temperature – through weather and climate, through central heating and air-con, through fever and chills. A real actual change in temperature or an emotional one…
Today I’m thinking about something all practitioners of Tai Chi are very aware of – and tightrope walkers, equilibrioception the sense of balance. Now balance can be a thing, or balance can be an action, and both have a place in the way we write and in our writing. Without even thinking about it, our audience, our readers want to read something which is balanced – it might be from one point of view only, but within that it has to have the different elements in a pleasing proportion (an example of when this goes wrong it when something is boring – a conversation which is too long, a description which is too detailed, a gun fight which loses excitement and tension because it seems never-ending [I read a book recently which had been brilliant until the shoot out – and then it was just too, too long, it didn’t balance!])
Just to look at the actual word, balance, i turned to the dictionary, and here is an abbreviated interpretation of what I found :
- an even distribution of the weight of someone or something so they stay upright and steady – our characters need to have balance – literally so they don’t fall over or off something (or a lack of balance for some dramatic purpose or action!) and them being mentally balanced or unbalanced can contribute to the plot development and story line
- a plot line involving fairness, justice, impartiality, egalitarianism – this can lead to all sorts of scenarios and dramatic twists if things are not fair, just or if people are not impartial and treat others equally!
- mental or emotional stability – as above
- composure, harmony of design and proportion – this can be the setting, before things go awry and a situation develops which becomes the story!
- an apparatus for weighing – I’m just adding this in, and also mentioning that if for example your plot involved astrology, then Libra is the sign to consider!
- a counteracting weight or force – good versus evil, kindness vs cruelty, love vs hate, strong vs weak – this must sum up most stories!
- put something in a steady position so that it does not fall or fail – this is our job as writers
- offset or compare – weigh, compare, evaluate, consider, assess, appraise… – again, as writers we have to do this with the content of what we write, whether it is a fiction or whether it is factual
- counteract or equalise the effect or importance of something – I’m thinking in terms of fiction and this is surely the basis of many novels – wrongs being righted, vengeance and revenge, love turning to hate and vice versa, and so on…
- establish equal or appropriate proportions of elements – we don’t want to be boring!
- correspond, agree, tally, match up, concur, coincide, be consistent, be equal, be harmonious, be constant, be congruous, be in tune and fit together
I was just thinking through some of my writing in which balance was crucial – in one of my Radwinter novels Thomas falls off a footbridge, in another he slips on ice and falls over… and in another it’s not his physical balance but his mental balance which has unravelled.
Having just written about balance, I’m now resolved to actively think about it in my writing – on more thing to be aware of when I revise and rework!
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