Although I do not at present possess a reputation for sprawling epics and novels of behemothic proportions, I suspect I may earn one with time. When I was in school, I always struggled to avoid blowing the top off of word counts, especially when it came to creative writing. I still have saved several works from that early period where the ending is an abrupt instance of everyone dying, simply because it was after midnight, the piece was due the next day, and I was already two thousand words over the word count. One of the reasons why I’ve never entered a short story contest is because whenever I sit down to write a short story it rapidly balloons into a novella.

Perhaps that is part of why I’ve always had a fascination with music. Specifically, I enjoy music that tells a story. Whether that’s a story spun of my imagination through classical music, or a more explicit telling through words, music that tells some kind of tale is fascinating to me. Songwriters can fit entire sagas into a few verses and a refrain, capturing character, plot, setting, conflicts and resolutions, all without the advantages I have as an author: namely, thousands and thousands of words, as well as grammar and punctuation.

It works, I think, by leaving far more open to the listener’s imagination than a book leaves to the reader’s. For the same reason, short stories often end on cliffhangers, or end apparently abruptly, letting the recipient fill in the missing details. I’m working on writing more short fiction, since my current circumstances preclude anything approaching rapid novel development, but I doubt you’ll see songs or poetry from me anytime soon.

3 thoughts on “Brevity and Music

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