I’m starting to breathe a little easier the more I delve into the Writer’s Digest 25 Ways to Improve Your Writing in 30 Minutes a Day tip article.
Creating a sense of balance in your piece is similar to creating unity (see the opposite page), but the repeated element is even more obviously connected to its earlier use. A classic example: In The Great Gatsby, as F. Scott Fitzgerald introduces us to the Buchanans in early summer, he emphasizes the breeze blowing through the room, billowing the curtains and the women’s dresses. Later, the same characters seated in the same place are shown in the heat of summer as weighted down, dispirited, languid. The connection between these descriptions creates balance and gives the reader a keen (if not necessarily conscious) sense of progression. It also implies that the characters are no longer free and airy, but encumbered by the circumstances that have arisen.
Set aside 30 minutes to reread your work, looking for a description, scene or metaphor that you can repeat later with some aspect changed to serve as a counterweight to the first usage.
What a relief to know I’m doing something right. In my novels, I hope I illuminate the changes the characters go through in much the same way. In the case of Marcela, she is devastated by what happened to her twin sister. She is fearful and resigned to a horrible fate, but in the end, finds the courage to help Andreas help her.
There’s a similar, but somewhat opposite arc that happens with Lorena, the woman with wings. She has a teenager’s flippant bravado at the beginning that is eroded away by what she witnesses and endures, until in the end, she decides to fight back.
Andreas’ own arc is a little more complicated (which is one reason I have a hard time summarizing the novel). I’ll have to work on his story a bit more to show him clearly. I like the example presented in the tip above. Maybe I don’t have to be so heavy-handed while showing his change, rather just allow his actions to speak.
I’m very close to the end of the re-write! I’m very excited. I think it’s close enough to being done that I feel confident putting it in the queue over on Critters.
I write this next bit as a reminder to myself: my novel is not the next big thing. It’s okay. I think I managed not to confuse anyone and, maybe, not completely bore a reader. It’s not great, and I know that. I’m not after greatness, but rather adequacy. This is my first novel, and I am so proud of it – right now. 😀