1. Gholin
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    Gholin Member

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    A Play within a Novel

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Gholin, Jun 29, 2011.

    Ok, I have an interesting idea here for my book and I'm not sure exactly how to implement it.

    During one chapter of my book, my MC is at the whims of a maniacal character who loves theatre and is forced onto a stage to act out a musical play written by the maniac.

    My question is, what seems like a good direction to take to integrate a small one act musical play into a chapter of a novel? Should I gloss over a lot of the play and just tell rather than show? How would songs work?
    I've never written a musical within a novel so it's kind of awkward to think about. There is a lot of comedy in the play, so it should be a really sweet scene if I can get it to work, but I'm not sure how to start.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas or advice :D
     
  2. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Sounds like it would be better to write a one-act play about a guy forced to perform a one-act play.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    though this has worked in some movies, i can't see it doing anything but annoying and boring readers of a novel...

    if there's nothing in the play itself that advances the novel's plot, i'd strongly suggest simply mentioning it and leaving out the actual scenes, dialog and song lyrics...

    the only time i could see it working to do otherwise, would be if, say a character on stage is killed by a prop gun loaded with real bullets instead of blanks, in which case all you'd want to write of the play is perhaps a brief description of the scene and the last line of the killer/killed character's dialog...

    or if a character playing a part on stage does something not in the script, that's pertinent to the novel's plot...

    but in any case like that, all you'd write would be the relevant parts and not the whole play/act... and certainly not the songs, unless again, there's some change made in the lyrics that affects the plot...
     
  4. Possibly Awesome Writer
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    If it's not necessary or relevant to the plot in any way then simply gloss over it. It would be incredibly difficult to make a decent play that ties in with a novel anyway. You could tell about snippets of what happened if they really are going to interest the reader but unless it develops either the plot or the characters just leave it out.
     
  5. youbetterwork
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    youbetterwork New Member

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    Describe as much as you need to. Incorporate as much as you need to. But the entire play could be a web page bonus or back of the book bonus.
     
  6. Gholin
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    Gholin Member

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    Thanks guys! You guys helped a ton. I know how to handle this situation now :) I like the idea of including the full play as a bonus later on.
     
  7. Talim
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    Talim Member

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    It has been said already, but I think it's a really good idea to include it as a bonus. So don't throw your idea away. :)
     
  8. Phruizler
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    Neal Stephenson does all kinds of weird stuff like this in his series "The Baroque Cycle." Sometimes he turns the novel into a play by writing events and dialogue as though they were in a screenplay. Other times, when characters are at the theatre, the play they are watching becomes the novel for however many pages long the play is. I thought it read great, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure there are those who disagree, however, and disliked it. While it's a pretty big undertaking to read the whole trilogy simply for this one problem, I'd recommend the read to anyone anyway, since I liked it so much.

    If you don't have the time or aren't interested, I'd suggest flipping through them in a bookstore or something to try and find the sections I'm talking about. I thought it was brilliantly executed.
     

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