March 6, 2018

A successful story; a flaw in the plot

Posted in Creativity, Fiction Writing, Flow, flow in writing, Harmony, Momentum in writing, music and writing, performance tagged , , , , , , , at 6:05 pm by Rebecca Hein

As we have seen, creative momentum can sweep the reader along, sometimes with such power that he or she doesn’t notice small faults in our plot or narrative. Since nobody can craft a story perfect in every technical detail, we need to generate this excitement to help our mission—to communicate the message that won’t leave us alone until we’ve at least tried to express it.

Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment is a good example of a story with a powerful message, embedded in a plot with at least one rather large flaw. How can the story succeed when the author obviously painted himself into a corner and, to escape it, has stretched the actions of one minor character beyond what’s plausible?

This contradiction—a compelling story with a significant flaw that doesn’t diminish the power of the narrative—has sent me back to the book several times, trying to figure out how the author did it.

In my own writing, I want the state of mind that can fire a brilliant story. As with my cello playing, I know that if I achieve total absorption for myself and my audience, they will be more likely to forget my small errors.


September 14, 2011

Sentence Construction

Posted in Harmony tagged at 11:15 am by Rebecca Hein

In music, especially in the most beautiful folk tunes, a melody moves from one important note to another, with “passing tones” to get you between them. The main notes are always part of the underlying harmonic structure, and you can feel the music moving from one chord to another. Typically in a simple, beautiful tune there are few passing notes. Just enough to get you to the next important note.

In the best sentences, the important words in that sentence are like the main notes in a melody: they have more weight than the other words, and signal important moments. The words used to get from one important word to another are the “passing words.”

Where writers get tangled up is in the passing words—they use too many, which in turn slows the sentence down, and makes a cumbersome transition from one important word to another. But if you can get your “passing words” few and fleet—taking up as little space as possible in the sentence, then the words flow like a simple, beautiful melody, the sentence is in good proportion, and the reader knows what’s most significant in the narrative.

September 8, 2011

Writing Class: How to make your writing so beautiful that it sings like music

Posted in Flow, Harmony, Peak Experiences, Practice Writing, Writing Classes tagged , , , , at 8:40 am by Rebecca Hein

Announcing an all-day writing class to be held on Saturday September 24, 2011

Subject: How to make your writing so beautiful that it sings like music.

The most beautiful music is simple yet so haunting that we can’t forget it and more, must listen to it again and again. Our writing takes on this character when we apply musical principles such as practice, harmony, rhythm, and most of all total absorption in what we’re doing. Join this class and learn the crossover between the spirit of music and the force of your ideas. No musical background needed.

Format: Telephone Conference Call

Schedule: Noon-2:30 pm (critiques) and 4:00-6:30 pm (discussion) Eastern Time

Instructor: Rebecca Hein, cellist and writer

Cost: $50.00

Deadline for enrollment: Wednesday September 14, 2011. To enroll, pay $50 via PayPal to on or before September 14 or send a check to Hein Family Enterprises, Inc. 10205 W. Hwy. 220, Casper, WY 82604. Postmark September 14.

Enrollment is limited to the first eight people who sign up.

For more details contact Rebecca Hein; 1-888-921-9595 or
(307) 472-3120

November 3, 2010

Internal Harmony

Posted in Creativity, Harmony tagged , , , at 9:30 am by Rebecca Hein

Making peace with myself influences my writing in profound ways. For example, several years ago I jumped forward in my ability to create metaphors and vivid images.

How? By terminating a relationship with an editor. Working with her was the best-paid and easiest gig I’d landed so far, and I needed the money.

But she squelched my voice and worse, replaced some of my key ideas with phrases of her own that actually misrepresented my values. I could live with heavy-handed editing but not with words I would never write, published under my byline.

When I saw that I couldn’t tolerate the situation, I quit. Within hours I could feel the wellspring of language, vivid and sparkling, bubbling up in me again.

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