Friday, October 26, 2012

“Balance Your Opposites.”


This advice was scribed by author Kristina McBride on the cover page of her novel THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES at a book fair in Ohio a couple of years ago. At the time, I remember thinking that it was a great turn of phrase. After reading the book—a heartwrenching story about a teenage girl whose best friend returns two years after being abducted from a neighborhood park—its meaning hit me on a deeper level.
There really is a delicate balance to everything in life, and anytime the scales tip too far in one direction… you could be headed for a crash landing.
Last winter I ended up writing two manuscripts simultaneously (not something I set out to do). Book #1 is rather dark—the story of a girl trying to maintain her integrity as she’s thrust into a life of depravity. Book #2 is more upbeat—a love story set in a beautiful mountain town. Book #1 sort of came at me full speed, without much planning or plotting. But after several days of crazy inspiration, I realized that writing Book #1 was starting to make me sad.
So I did what any sane writer (is that an oxymoron?) would do—closed the document and started work on my much lighter Book #2. I never thought I’d write two stories at once. But alas, switching between these two manuscripts was the perfect solution. My opposites were completely balanced. Thanks, Kristina!
Have you read THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES yet? What about other good books that deal with contrasting issues? Life/Death. Quiet/Loud. Safe/Scary. How do you keep your balance in life or literature?


4 comments:

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

I have no balance!!! Well, I'm always striving for it. It's just elusive.

You know I think The Tension of Opposites is an AMAZING book. I'm so glad you found it and put it in my hands to read.

Sara (of the Page Sage) said...

Great post! I think individual books have to have that same balance of happy and sad. (John Green does this perfectly. I mean, just look at TFIOS. It's a book about death that manages to make the reader chuckle.)

I haven't read Tension of Opposites yet, but I'm dying to since I absolutely LOVED One Moment.

Ingrid said...

I know, Sarah! I love The Tension of Opposites; it's such an intense and moving story.

Sara, right on. Books that combine both happy and sad elements are the best. TFIOS certainly has it all. One Moment is great, too-- it sucked me right in and I couldn't put it down.

Thanks for commenting, ladies!

Kristan Hoffman said...

I haven't read TENSION OF OPPOSITES yet -- I'm not sure how that happened! -- but I HAVE been thinking about balance a lot recently, so your post really resonated with me. :) For me, it's about using my time wisely. I'm on the computer all the time, but that doesn't mean I should be *connected* all the time. I need to learn how to balance my time/energy for the most important things (my family, my writing) and limit how much of it I give to everything else (FB, Twitter).

GUITAR NOTES (which we have blogged about a bit here at WHYA) is sort of about balance, too. The balance between what's expected of you vs. your passions, structure vs. freedom. I really appreciate stories like that, which can show you that things aren't black or white, that you have to learn to find your place in the gray.

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


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on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Transparent
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
Bitterblue
The Fault in Our Stars
Pretties


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