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Thoughts on Hamilton

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I loved Hamilton. I was about to just end the daily right there. My family and I watched it on Disney+ this weekend. I enjoyed it for so many reasons. There was a literary technique that I noticed in the story. Most people know the story of Hamilton, In the story most people know that Burr kills him in the duel. Now even if you don’t know that, in the very first song of the play, at the end of the song the character who plays Burr, says that he kills Hamilton. So there it is, we know that this story ends with a death. It won’t be a mystery, no twist. The author reveals it. So what is this called? Why do author’s who write decide what to reveal and how to reveal it?

This brings me to my own story, what do I go with?  Authors write stories write multiple takes on a scene, characters, various endings some wind up on the chopping floor. The best end up in the story. The unused parts get repackaged and sold under titles like directors cut, or extended version. Notice they never say, This is the stuff that wasn’t good enough to make the book or the movie.
I guess lessons for my writing- Just write several versions, get feedback, and pick the best one. I am going to try that this week.

Comments

  1. Hi Steven. I feel as if I have seen it, even though I haven’t. With Hamilton, I wonder if Lin-Manuel does that because quite a few people already know how the story ends, so it’s only fair to let everyone know, so that the whole audience starts from a similar place. It also means that characters and audience are being swept towards something we know is going to happen, which gives us some different questions — not I wonder what’s going to happen next, so much as I wonder how his life is going to take him there, how is going to pack it all in (if you know a bit about the life). But when we don’t know how the story end — as a writer or a reader — then I’m guessing we have to let the characters wander where they will. (Even though I’m not writing fiction — and even though when I’m writing history, it’s all happened already — I still find the story taking a turn or two I didn’t expect.) Once we’ve got to the end, we can look back and work out how we got there and prune the bits that don’t serve. But until we do, we can only wander (and wonder).

  2. Hey Steve, isn’t the idea of telling the audience the ending at the beginning of a story contrasting to the idea of building tension? Or maybe knowing the ending makes the question of ‘how does it happen?’ that much more supportive of tension.

    Oooh. That connects to enjoying the process/journey more than the end result or conclusion. Huh! That’s cool. What do you think?

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