Monday, June 07, 2010

Writing Lessons From Sting

Saw Sting at the White River Amphitheatre last night. As predicted, it was cold and rainy but we were seated under cover so all was well. The orchestra was a great touch and the musical highlights were "Mad About You" and "Desert Rose."

But there were also a couple of tidbits that apply to writers. Sting said there were two types of love stories. I Love You/You Love Me, which is boring and goes nowhere, and I Love You/You Love Someone Else. It's the second one that's the most interesting and has the deepest dramatic goldmines to plunder.

Later on, he talked about how he writes songs. He's been doing it for decades and still calls it a 'mysterious process.' His tendency over the past ten to twenty years has been to arrange the music first and then let that music suggest mood and character. Fiction writers do the same kind of thing when we come up with the framework of scenarios and settings and then wait for a story and hero to fill the spaces. The interesting thing he said was not to be afraid of what comes along and demands to be written, even if it's a story about things that make us uncomfortable.

Good advice, and it's worked well for him so it's something to consider.

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