Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stabilizing Influence

Dynamic, fluid, compelling...

Any creative composition, especially a narrative, has a dynamic component to it that keeps the audience interested. The more dynamic the piece, the more intriguing it is for the viewer but it can also become a challenge for the composition.

In the visual arts, creating a dynamic composition is a matter of choosing fluid elements and subjects for the piece. The largest difficulty in fluid subjects is in establishing an anchor, applying some stability to keep the composition in clear focus. As much as fluid subjects are compelling to the viewer it is also possible for the composition to lose focus and become distorted, unclear, if the piece lacks some stability.

Photo Credit
Capturing dynamic compositions in the visual arts is a matter of stabilizing how the composition is perceived. Typically this is achieved through tripods and very complicated stabilizing rigs that keep perfect balance. Other elements that are fluid in the piece require equal parts of static elements.

A dynamic narrative composition is very similar to a visual arts composition. The fluid elements of a narrative piece can range from the perceived scene to the very characters within the piece. The combination of elements and unrestricted perceptions in a narrative can allow for dynamics that can become disorienting for an audience. 

Stabilizing the elements of a narrative is similar to stabilizing a visual composition however, additional 'supports' need to be added to the composition. For every dark and bleak setting there needs to be one 'safe' setting. For a calm, collected and methodical character, their partner should be emotional and impulsive. Altering perspective, adjusting pacing, changing settings and adding opposing character personas are just a few means of supports that can stabilize a narrative and help it to maintain focus.

Dynamic and fluid elements are needed in a composition for a viewer to find it compelling however, for every dynamic element within a piece it is necessary to have something to stabilize the composition and balance the elements. maintaining balance allows the audience to perceive the contrast between the static elements and the dynamic, making those elements even more compelling.


Michele Shaw said...

As always, awesome pic! So true! I think books that feel "off" to me are unbalanced. Some writers think excitement only comes from action, and that action should be on every page. That gets tiresome. As opposed to "the book where nothing happens." Haven't we all read that one? It's hard to care about even the best characters when the balance is so skewed one way or the other. I like the word fluid. I want my work to be fluid, floating up and down at just the right moments. Hoping to get there....

PW Creighton said...

Michele, I completely agree. It's a ride and there need to be moments without the 'thrill' so you can appreciate the differences, the contrast between the moments. Thanks as always for your comments.

Cheryl Reif said...

What an interesting way to think about this! I think I strive for contrast in my stories automatically, but this discussion gives me a reason to start thinking about safe/dangerous and other contrasts more purposefully.

I LOVE the new blog look. It's much easier to read and really showcases your amazing photos.

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