Books As Performance

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Well, I believe that books aren’t songs; they’re the performance of a song. So god yes, choose a bloody good song, but your reader wants to hear you sing it amazingly… It’s just a way for me to really focus on the fact that book needs both: it needs a great song, but that song needs to be sung beautifully, passionately, playfully, originally. If you sing beautifully about nothing, no one will listen. If you sing badly about great stuff, no one will listen. Ideas are everywhere, but my theory is that a writer doesn’t just think of an idea, they perform them.

Patrick Ness explains the secret of writing an unforgettable book

At my critique group earlier this week, I said that I’m at the point in revision where I feel like I’m adjusting dials scene by scene — turn up an emotion, turn down a character’s reaction, turn up physical responses while modulating inner thoughts. This reminds me of playing with the graphic equalizer on my first boom box to get a song to sound “right,” although instead of dials, that had a series of sliders that I was forever trying to bump just a tiny bit.

I like the performance metaphor of writing. It works for me on a process level.

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