Monday, September 16, 2013

We can all learn from Shakespeare

Writer’s Digest did a piece titled, “10 Things Shakespeare Can Teach us About Writing Thrillers.” The ten tips actually help with any genre. Shakespeare was a great writer and a suburb storyteller. It’s the combination that makes him world renown nearly 400 years after his death. In his day, he was not a literary figure; he was the equivalent of a prime time screenwriter. Shakespeare wrote to fill theaters with paying audiences. (Somewhere around forty people depended on his plays for their livelihood.) 

Populist or Elitist?
One of my favorite writer quotes comes from Raymond Chandler; “It might reasonably be said that all art at some time and in some manner becomes mass entertainment, and that if it does not it dies and is forgotten.” 

Shakespeare is remembered because he aimed for mass entertainment. Shakespeare’s appeal to the general public is what makes these 10 writing tips powerful. All of them have to do with the storytelling side of his great talent. From an artistic standpoint, he was an unbelievably gifted wordsmith, but craft alone will not make a writer immortal. 

Nor, quite frankly, will storytelling divorced of good writing. Just ask Harold Robbins.




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