A big ARHtistic License thank you to Andrea Lundgren for this multidisciplinary guest article, which was first published on A Writer’s Path.
I was thinking about this the other day while on hold. I was waiting for a break in the music that signaled that someone was going to rescue me from the unending monotony, so when the music would change from stringed instruments music to a pause, I’d get excited…only to have the music start another movement.
And it got me thinking about plotting. I realized there are three things we can learn from good music (and from bad music, in a let’s-avoid-doing-what-they-did sort of way).
- Beware repetition…in wording, pacing, and plot. Some readers will be sensitive to words, to where reusing something like “twisted,” “inspected,” “challenged,” “taunted,” or other unique verbs, adjectives, or nouns will stand out. Others will notice plotting more, to where moments where the main character thinks about the past, or contemplates their dreams, or practices their battle skills will ring in their ears. But all readers will be aware of repetition on some level, and as a writer, you need to also pay attention to it. If your plot repeats the same notes, in words or action, you run the risk of monotony.
Of course, repetition can be a good thing. You can repeat elements in the story, just as a piece of music repeats a motif. You can weave certain themes throughout scenes, or even repeat actions, to where a character demonstrates how much he or she has changed by going for the same walk, facing the same challenge, or recalling the same memory with new information or a changed perspective.
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