Creative Tension

Good art is all about tension.

Consider haiku. A central tension lies within three lines of poetry. The Japanese call it “kire,” a pause created by a juxtaposition between two elements. It creates a spark of energy, like the spark between synapses as they connect in your brain. The power of the poem lies in the reverberation created by this pause.

Consider novels. They rely on conflict both within characters (i.e., the individual’s inner-battle with pride, greed and baggage) and outside the characters (i.e., hurricanes and zombie invasions). Conflict fuels the plot.

Creating art relies on seeing the tensions in the world and expressing them as best we can.

But in a world where most of us hide from harsh realities that can be hard, but that is the artist’s role. We need to really look and tell our truth.

The migrant crisis, terrorism, marginalization… These are all realities that need to be talked about. If not by artists, then by who?

That truth connects people … changes people.


Photo credit: Pixabay

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

4 thoughts on “Creative Tension”

  1. As an an artist I like to include things that are a part of modern life such as terrorism, migrants and marginalization but I don’t wallow in them. As my main character is a chocolatier and caterer I don’t believe it would ring true. It’s not something she would deal with on an everyday basis but she’d be aware of it and at times might become more involved depending on the story line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pat,
      I love your mysteries steeped in romance and dipped in chocolate Pat. They leave a smile on the reader’s face and we need more of that. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation.
      Best Wishes


  2. I’m aware that what I write is a type of fairy tale – Regency life of the aristocracy. Yet within those parameters the human spirit still wrestled with
    love, hate, envy, sorrow, longing just like today. My challenge is to create enough tension to make a satisfying read yet maintain the illusion
    of escape to a world which seems, at first glance, more harmonious and relaxed. But in reality the Regency period had everything from children
    working in coal mines and climbing up smouldering chimneys, to glutinous over-indulgence at banquets and Napoleon blockading the English channel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Helena,
      You raise really interesting points. I never think about the working children or the politics of the time when I read a Regency. Still the human conflict always makes a good story and you do that well.
      Urrgh, just the thought of the smoldering chimneys.
      Thanks for stopping by and chatting. I love your historical perspective on things.
      Best Wishes


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