celestial writing



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  • celestial writing

    I've heard it said that Mozart was thought to have celestial pitch, the ability to know what note was going to come next
    without that note being played. This accounts for his few mistakes
    on original pieces of work.

    What about writing? I've read accounts of how screenwriters sketch
    an entire draft, throw it all away and start all over. Definitely
    not following in the steps of Mozart here.

    Is it possible for a writer to develop celestial writing? The
    ability to forsee an entire story, write the original idea and
    rewrite it with very little changes?

    Now I'm not talking about sketching a lengthy outline,
    truckloads of index cards, etc.

    I'm talking about an original idea placed on paper as a draft
    with little to no corrections. Are there mozarts in writing
    as in music?


  • #2
    Yes, there are examples, but once their lives are examined, it's seen that before sitting down and writing that "single-draft masterpiece" there were many years of false starts, earlier drafts, and lots of rejections. These all tend to come to light when the biographies are written.

    Mozart also had a sense of resolution. There's a story that when he was a little boy--maybe three or four (and he was composing when he was four) his father had a musical evening with some friends. They were all playing chamber music in the sitting-room when Leopold (his father) played a melody that lacked only one thing. Wolfgang ran down the stairs, went to the keyboard and resolved the melody with a single chord.

    His perfect pitch was also allied to knowing exactly what should come before and after it, and his sense of timing was exquisite.

    I think most great artists, however, especially those who are considered true pioneers in their craft (in the 20th century Proust, Picasso, Stravinsky, et al), also had a deep grounding in the basics. Picasso was an exceptional draftsman, and the work he did at the academy was very fine--and exactly like every other student's. But he knew how to draw; and because he knew how to draw, knew all the basics, he was able to extend the rules and become wholly original.

    People like that are more able to sit down and create with few erasures and little planning.

    This probably doesn't answer your question, but it's food for thought.


    • #3
      absolutely': though of course on varying levels. a story from scratch about a plumber who drags, when you toil away as bus driver with no writing experience, won't be mozart.

      but, a skilled pro, with a story he's familiar with can o rchestrate that note.

      writing allows us to open the chest cavity of the writer. you can see what they know; within what they write. mozart was given a gift. i think there is no doubt a correlation between those that have special skills and work in the industry as opposed to mr. blue collar.

      at a certain level writers are special and unique individuals which harbors resementment, bitterness etc... cause everybod wants to think they are special, and unique.

      when you write, you have to prove it and writing a screenplay is not writing. there are people on this board who can write, but aren't good at writing screenplays and the flip side.



      • #4
        If you're going to use Mozart as an example, you have to ackowledge the unique genius of the man. Sure, it's possible for someone to have that kind of "celestial" talent when it comes to writing, but I wouldn't say that it can be acquired.

        Mozart's abilities were a God-given gift. And while anyone with the talent can reach a comparable level of practice, it won't be the same as "just knowing" what's right.

        For what it's worth, musicians have the advantage of working in a much more visceral medium. It's blatantly obvious when an instrument is out of tune. The same can't be said for writing.


        • #5
          how about this segue, there is something to be said about someone who can apply good advice and know what works and what doesn't.

          in the business, and i'm still a baby boy, but purely in terms of writing and the objectives of it, you have to be able to fix stuff. you have to be able to fix stuff that might work, into better stuff, which means you have to fix other stuff.

          i'm not married, but writing must be like the sacrifices in a marriage.

          as pcon said, MO could sense that pace. timing in writing, and having that unique sense is a gift. and you can be damn sure that if that is your gift, you don't have some other gift. god giveth, and not giveth. the ebb and flow of life and writing.

          think of what mozart could do today with all the technology. but god said, hey, i'm going to hinder you with a form of a disability, but i'm going to heighten all your other senses.

          what daredevil tried to do. daredevil is mozart, or is iT Beethoven. either way, you get my jist.



          • #6
            One could also add that most writers really have one subject they keep returning to. Proust once said that all of Dostoevsky's novels could be titled Crime and Punishment, while all of Balzac's many novels could be called Lost Illusions.

            Once we've been writing for many years we begin to see the themes of our lives and our work, and knowing them, returning to this mine day after day to extract whatever we may find there, allows us to know the territory exquisitely well. So sometimes finding the story and writing it fairly fluently and quickly isn't so impossible.

            Before I wrote my first published novel (virtually in a single draft over five weeks), I'd written twelve previous ones. But as I'd explored a similar theme in each, the thirteenth came fairly easily.


            • #7
              My mom once wrote a novel straight through in longhand in a couple of spiral notebooks without a single addition, deletion, or correction, as far as I could tell.


              • #8
                Was it published?


                • #9
                  Another thing one should know about W.A. Mozart is that he was pushed very hard by his father, so by the time he was a child he had a very good grounding in the essentials of music composition. Also, his father being a musician and a composer, he lived with it in his house twenty-four hours a day.

                  So, yes, he was born with a great gift, but it was grounded in sweat and hard work.


                  • #10
                    One of my goals in life, and oddly enough I consider it unreachable but I'm gonna try anyway, is a perfect first draft.

                    The Lottery, by literary myth, was written in one draft. Legend has it she wrote after being at the grocery store with her infant and walking, home, up hill while pushing both the cart of groceries and the baby.

                    But I don't think I've ever heard of anyone throughout a career writing perfect draft after perfect draft.


                    • #11
                      perfect? very subjective. celestial, what a neat word. do you know venus is the only planet that spins counterclockwise.



                      • #12
                        mozart could do today with all the technology
                        I just cannot get the image of Mozart spinning and scratching records at some rave... synth, lasers, teens on X, and of course, the powdered wig.

                        Am I the only one who felt that casting the dude from Animal House was pure genius?


                        • #13
                          You might read "Creating Minds" by Howard Gardner. It's a look at various aspects of creative genius through the lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham and Gandhi. It describes each in terms of strengths and weaknesses, provides an interesting biography and compares their progress, including grounding in the fundamentals and years of experience prior to a genius "breakthrough."

                          If you would reach the stars, you must first do the work of building a rocket.


                          • #14

                            this is a hypothetical question but it's good. no. it's not possible to write a script (on the level of perfection of a mozart symphony) straight through with no corrections. it has never been done.

                            yes, you can write a script straight through, but not one as great or perfect as mozart's compositions



                            • #15
                              The whole trick is to work like a slave and make it look easy.

                              And then tell 'em, when they hand over the check, that it was a piece of cake.