It’s A Detailed Balancing Act

Hello my lovelies, as promised this week is dedicated to all things Writing and Writing Advice; I’ll be revisiting some of my favorite posts from the past as well as publishing some awesome new ones that I can’t wait for you to see! (This week may extend into next week as well, considering I have quite a few fun ideas I’m playing with and I don’t think you’d be particularly pleased to have three posts a day from me showing up on your Reader lol.) The first post this week is one of my favorites so I hope you enjoy 😀

Welcome to Writing and Writing Advice Week!

Welcome to Writing and Writing Advice Week!

It’s All In The Details: Balancing Big And Little Scenes:

Writing a novel of any genre is a long process. Between planning, research, writing, getting stuck, writing, finding anything ANYTHING with chocolate in it in the house, and writing some more, let’s just say it’s a time-consuming lifestyle (unless you are one of those writers who can get an entire novel out in like three weeks, which personally I think is highly indicative of you being an alien sent this planet to make the rest of us look bad). Suffice it to say, (aliens aside) writing is fraught with frustration, especially when all you can think about is THAT BIG SCENE coming up or at the end of the novel. It drives you insane, it consumes you, it’s all you can think about…finally being able to write that pivotal moment that will MAKE your story and make people remember you. It’s like a siren call, luring you into daydreaming about it instead of writing where you’re at, which leads to aggravation because you are nowhere near that scene and what you’re writing now doesn’t feel as important. It must not be important then, right?


Everything you write is important: every moment, every description, every scene, every minor plot twist and moment of character development. It’s the little things, the details, which draw readers in, making them care enough to feel anything when they finally reach THAT moment. If readers don’t care about the characters at the beginning, the middle, or three-quarters in, chances are they are not going to care at the end when that climactic scene finally arrives, no matter how awesome or descriptive the writing has suddenly become. As a writer, it is your job to tell someone else’s story and part of that means finding someone to take the time to read and understand it, which can only truly happen if readers bond with the characters and genuinely care about them suffering through the obstacles placed in their path. This bonding comes largely from the details, the ‘little moments’. From the very first word onward, however long it takes to reach THAT scene, is where you must work your hardest, because it’s here that you have to make someone begin to love, worry, and care about someone beyond themselves. So, that pivotal scene in your novel…it happens a lot sooner than you think and in a moment that you probably did not intend it to. The climax is still important, but so are the details leading up to it.

So plan ahead and write accordingly.

If you want a reader to experience despair in the climactic moment in the middle/near end of a story, you must give them some sort of happiness before that. If you want them to feel safe, they need to have been frightened at some point. Give the readers the opportunity and time to experience one emotion fully so that when you take it away later they feel the loss of it and can truly grieve what was taken. Your novel’s climax might be terrifying or heart-breaking, but it will only be so if, in those unexciting-to-write moments, you’ve detailed your character experiencing the opposite. No one can feel hate if they’ve never felt love, or experience fear if they have never known the warmth of safety. Balance your details, your big moments and little ones and know that both are important to the overall impact of the story you as a writer are trying to tell.

In the end, you want something from the reader: a reaction. And likewise the reader wants something from you: a reason to react. Give readers the opportunity to react by providing them a reason to. Give them the little moments – the details and descriptions – so that when the big moments arrive they understand what’s at stake.

This was originally published in September of 2012

Image From Google

Image From Google

7 thoughts on “It’s A Detailed Balancing Act

    • Thanks 😀
      It astounds me to hear people say they finished an entire novel in a month or less, but then I’m a fantasy writer so my average word count is around 100,000 so for me, it takes a while. I often wonder if they mean they finished a novel with 30,000 words (which is still a feat!) 😀

      • I’m told a novel is about 50,000 words and anything less is novella/novelette/short story… so many rules. One month I can believe better than three weeks (NANOWRIMO set the standard for speed novels). But the question lingering is if it’s readible when rushed.

      • Yeah, I’m not bashing quick writers, if they can do it good for them, but I do wonder if the quality of work would improve if they spent longer on the project, or would it decline if they nit-picked it…? Hmmm, I guess it’s a “to each their own” thing 😀
        And I was told a “normal” novel was around 30,000 words, but it perhaps it’s changed nowadays or my source was incorrect lol. 😀

  1. Pingback: Finding Your Writing Voice: Word Choice And Tone | moonstonemaiden

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