Be more than an author!

Tuesday, June 04, 2019
I like all kinds of music, and sometimes use music as inspiration to write. A few weeks ago, I happened to change the channel on television and began watching a symphony orchestra perform. I didn't know the group or the names of the songs they played, but the music was beautiful, and I continued to watch for a while.

Although I loved the music, it was the conductor who caught my attention. He directed the group with the focus of a choreographer who correctly exhibits the exact placement of a dancer's hand, or curve of an arm, while also controlling the sound, speed, and volume of the melody from his rostrum. He wasn't the invisible muse or inspiration from memories or perception of the past. He was there in the moment where we could see him.

This man did not become the music, but directed and reflected the emotion. The musicians allowed themselves to be coached and willingly led to the place they wanted to go. When he waved the baton quickly, the tempo increased. When he lowered his arms and moved them slowly, the musicians responded in kind. The music changed as he changed, and just like life, the music was loud then soft, fast then slow. The conductor was the author of his book, and he successfully led them through the composition.

How do you conduct your characters to work together, perfecting their movements throughout the journey? Do you direct them carefully to work with others, honoring them each with a piece of the story only they can tell, allowing them to feel or react to emotions in a way that is natural and beautiful? If you haven't tried this before, listen to some classical music, watch the conductor, and try it for yourself.

By thinking of yourself as the choreographer, focus on the beauty of the dance and the melody. Tell your story through the lens of a conductor, and see how it deepens your emotional response.

Mary Horner has been working on this technique for a while, and doesn't believe she will ever master it completely, but keeps trying!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--Are you the only one who thinks you're not mastering it? I wonder if you're too harsh of a critic when it comes to yourself...

Nila said...

Oh I love this analogy! The conductor is to music as the writer is a conductor to her characters, orchestrating their movements.

And I agree with Sioux, you can be too harsh on yourself! you are a great writer and a conductor of your work!

Mary Horner said...

Sioux, I am my worst critic, I agree. I've had so many rejections that it has affected my self-esteem. But I am writing more this year than I have in quite a while, so I'm working on it!

And thank you, Nila for your kind words. You know how I love a good analogy.

Pat Wahler said...

I recently read an article about approaching one's novel as a director would or as an actor would. A conductor is another wonderful way to describe an author's relationship to his/her work.

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