Tuesday, May 23, 2006


“The novelist is like the conductor of an orchestra, his back to the audience, his face invisible, summoning the experience of music for the people he cannot see. The writer as conductor also gets to compose the music and play all of the instruments, a task less formidable that it seems. What it requires is the conscious practice of providing an extraordinary experience for the reader, who should be oblivious to the fact that he is seeing words on paper.”
Sol Stein, On Writing, p. 8

Tricia’s Thoughts:

Reading this makes a lot of sense to me, “The writer as conductor also gets to compose the music and play all of the instruments.” And how are we trained to play these instruments well? We keep our ears open to the cadence of dialogue. Our eyes alert to seeing the world in beautiful and unique ways. We read the prose of others and study what they do best. And we continue to be a student of those willing to teach us their craft—whether it’s through articles, books, or even blog spots on writing. We also practice. Like a violinist who practices hours each day, should we do any less?


Blogger Jim Thompson said...

I like the metaphor. Most writers are like most composers, playing the notes in different ways until they sound right. But the truly great writers are like Beethoven, first hearing the score in their imaginations, then supplying the notes to make it so. I pray God will give me the ear to hear the cadence and music of words.

2:32 PM  

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