Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Balancing Act

I mentioned balance in the last post and I find I would like to talk about it a bit more. Again keep in mind, I don’t consider myself an expert in any way, but I like to muse on topics.

- Humor -

I really admire authors who are able to create any book of any genre and have it be funny all the way through. I am exponentially impressed when they can take that and do it over and over again.

But most really can’t.

You end up seeing the same gags and situations over and over and over again. Until you the newness of the characters wears off and suddenly you find yourself wondering why you still read it? Then maybe you start just checking it out at the library in lieu of buying it until eventually you find you have fallen behind and can’t quite care.

The other end of the spectrum is also true. Ever met a person who was never funny and never appreciated humor? Maybe one John or Jane Doe, right? Meet two?

Now think about authors you may have read where you never ever laughed. I don’t mean you have to break down in tears and deep gasping breaths, but life is funny. Sometimes, or even especially, at times when things are the worst. Because it is how people cope.

I think the lack of humor is just as false and being funny all the time. One makes the piece either super depressing or just two dimensional, to me. The other sets the bar high the first time then too often fails to repeat.

- Conflict –

The other big reason I often stop reading something is a lack of conflict. Or, more rarely, too much conflict.

Ever read a book that you struggle to remember which peril or obstacle the character is trying to defeat this chapter? Or maybe that the character is almost dying all the time. I am just as guilty of this at time, but I feel like conflict needs to be balanced between internal and external.

Characters who never change aren’t interesting to me.

I like conflict that moves someone. They don’t have to evolve, they can fall back into bad habits, which I think more people should explore. Maybe my next story I will take some of that angle. I can add it to the list.

I read somewhere that a good author has some sense of tension on every page to keep people reading. I don’t know if I buy that idea, but I do know that too much every day blah and I find myself skimming and then missing crucial things.

Balance is important, wish I could find mine.

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