I’m a Libra–the sign of the scales, so I thought my life came with some automatic balance. Come to find out, one of my favorite astrologers explained that being a Libra meant I was constantly SEARCHING for balance. A whole different thing entirely. And after I thought about it, aren’t most people striving for balance, too?
The old saying “Too much work and no fun make Jack a dull boy” could apply to too much of anything. I read a thread on twitter recently where Ilona Andrews and Jeaniene Frost (both New Times bestselling authors) worked so many hours writing their books that Jeaniene Frost ended up in the hospital and both suffered from too much stress and felt everything else in their lives got neglected. What were they missing? Balance.
Now, I’d love to be a bestselling author, but not enough to ONLY write. I like seeing my husband, kids, and grandkids. I like having family and friends over for suppers. I enjoy cooking and gardening. I’m not very exciting, but I’m happy. Of course, if all I did was play, I’d feel out of sync, too. I like checking off goals when I finish them. They give me a sense of accomplishment. Too much down time, and I get antsy.
As a writer, I strive for balance in my books, too. I recently finished reading Maria V. Snyder’s POISON STUDY. I really liked it and highly recommend it, but the book had so much action, with the heroine under constant attack from enemies on all sides, that it felt like too much of a good thing. For me, the book’s rhythm began to feel repetitive. She created wonderful characters, and I’d have liked to spend a little more time with them. Valek, especially, was fascinating. So were many of the minor characters. On the other hand, though, I’ve read books where action would be welcome. It feels like nothing is happening, page after page. No character development. No clues to add up. The pacing’s so slow, the story barely moves forward.
I also recently finished reading Cee Cee James’s cozy mystery CHERRY PIE OR DIE. I loved the characters, the interaction between them, and the clues sprinkled here and there that teased me to solve the murder. The pacing took its time, taunting me with tidbits of information and red herrings, like cozies do. And that’s one of the things I liked about the book.
Great books create a balance between action, dialogue, setting, character development, and building momentum through pacing and tension. Not many of us get every scene, every page right. And not all of us can even agree on what’s good and what’s not. What excites me can make another reader close the book and toss it aside. But for whatever you’re working on now, I hope you find a good balance. And happy writing!
My webpage: https://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/
My author Facebook page: https://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/