Balance can be achieved – or not – in many ways.
In this posting, I’m only concentrating on the first aspect – balance of structure.
Every story or chapter within a novel has a number of scenes and each scene can be identified as belonging to one of three main sections of that story or chapter: the beginning, the middle and the end.
A reader reads at a given pace: so many words per minute. A reader will pause, if you give them reason to do so, eg using commas, full stops and other punctuation marks. They may also pause if the content makes them stop and reflect on what they’ve just read. Otherwise, they plough on, until they reach THE END.
The reader’s journey therefore has a time span, determined mainly by the rate at which they read, but also affected by how many words you write, the punctuation you use and the message you convey.
Your aim is for that journey to be completed. You don’t want the reader to give up!
Aiming for balance in your word count, and careful placement of punctuation, and clever revelations at important points, is a tall order. Here, I am only considering word count.
There is no need for all scenes to be identical in length but, if they are different, this should be a conscious decision on your part as the writer. I don’t advocate ‘padding’ but, having identified imbalances, you might prune to make some parts shorter.
CHALLENGE: Check how many words you allocate to each scene in your story.
TIP: your software counts the words for you!
In another posting, I’ll be looking at other aspects of balance. Till then, enjoy your editing!