Wednesday, July 26, 2006

From one toolbox to another

Good point:
A novelist and a playwright might seem to be doing similar things. In fact, the tasks are quite different. Dialogue and external action are only two of the novelist's tasks; they have to flesh out the world with evocations of place, of physical appearance, the sense of time passing. A playwright's task is more austere. There's no alluding to people's thoughts in the lazy way of novelists: playwrights have to do everything through the way their people talk, and the way they move and act in tangible ways. A playwright venturing into the novel won't necessarily know how to write a description, where you can usefully allude to something unseen, or how to move from place to place. A playwright's tools are more refined; a novelist's toolbox is bigger.

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