Why a book writer is called a book writer and not . . .

I’m going to tickle your toes with a little tease right now . . .

I just recorded Episode #4 of my Podcast with the living legend that is Terrence McNally, and when it hits the web-waves in a couple of weeks, make sure you tune in, because does he drop some advice bombs that will blow your mind.

One of the subjects I dove into with Terrence got into the subject of writing plays versus writing musicals, since he’s a master of both forms.  He gave me a couple of great takeaways that you’ll have to wait until the 26th to hear (tease, tease, tickle, tickle), but a few of them resonated right into a conversation I overheard at a show the other day, which sharpened my own thoughts on the matter, so I had to share.

Here’s what went down.

“What did you think of XXXXX The Musical?

“Eh.”

“There were some really funny lines though.”

“Yeah.”

“Don’t know why I didn’t like it.”

“I’m hungry.  Let’s get a steak.”

Too often people think snappy, witty, funny, shocking, fancy-word-filled dialogue is what bookwriting is all about.

Bookwriting is not about dialogue.

Remember, they call it a Book.  They don’t call it a A Collection of Dialogue Spoken By Characters.

No, it’s a book.  Now think about what a book is – and not a new age kindley book.  I’m talking a good ol’ fashioned hardcover book.  A book has some weight.  It has a spine.  That spine gives it structure.  That structure supports high quality, thick paper . . . on which sentences are drizzled.

The dialogue is the least important part, and, I’d argue, the easiest.

So if you’re a bookwriter, don’t get all excited if you write a line that makes people cry or makes people laugh.  Get excited when your entire show does that.  Because that’s when you’ve done your job.

And if you like this blog, just wait until you hear what Terrence has to say.  Subscribe to the podcast!

 

 

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Comments
  • A book is about a STORY. Without a story, there is no book — no novel, no memoir, no hit Broadway show, not even an off off off Broadway show.

  • It’s not just a story. It’s a journey that takes the character and the reader through a slice of the life of the characters involved. It’s also a place and a time. My vampire novel is not more than a series of events, but a look at a time and a place and the people that lived there.

  • It’s not just a story. It’s a journey that takes the character and the reader through a slice of the life of the characters involved. It’s also a place and a time. My vampire novel is not more than a series of events, but a look at a time and a place and the people that lived there.

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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