Happy Friday. Will it ever warm up? At least there’s sunshine.
Last night, I went to Swing46 to dance outdoors to a jazz band led by the fabulous Katheryn Farmer .
My dance partner and I dance most dances, and it’s fun to dance with a good dancer who knows the rules for each dance but can switch fluidly between styles and dance the tango to a ballad that could also be danced to in a foxtrot. This fluidity is what mastery really is, the ability to make something difficult seem easy. I’m sure you can see the comparison to writing: You need a lot of technique to make fluid transitions in your work. A waltz ends, a tango starts, just like scenes in a movie or TV script. In one scene, there’s a tragedy, and the next, comedy. The ease in transitions comes from intentionality and practice.
One of the reasons I offer so many writing exercises is for that very reason: The more you practice, the better you get. The elements of a song include rhythm, melody, pitch.
We can compare these elements as follows: The rhythm is the flow of the scene. The melody is the content and the dialogue, and the pitch is how the scene is intended, comedy, drama, etc.
If you think of your scenes this way, you’ll find that your story flows better both within any scene and the script as a whole. I listen to music when I write, and that helps with the musicality of the writing, and also relaxes my mind so that I don’t constantly second guess myself.
Try this experiment.
1. Pick a topic for a short essay or a practice scene.
2. Pick music such as a favorite song, part of a symphony, or calming music.
3. Write while listening to this piece of music. Notice how you feel as you work.
4. Wait a while.
5. Select another very different piece of music.
6. Write the scene from scratch.
7. Wait an hour and compare the two versions.
See what the differences in the work are, compare how you felt listening to the two pieces.
Another way to use the connection to music and writing is to create a playlist you put on in the background that is the same length as the amount of time you’ve put aside to write. Play it each time you write, and you’ll find more consistency in the scenes.
My rewrite class is coming up starting May 18th. If you’d like to send out that script by Fall, this class is for you! Class information can be found here.
Excited to share the featured clip from JOS 71. Laugh, subscribe for free and share.
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz