What About Shakespeare? 7 Lessons to Learn

By on June 06, 2013 . Category Reading

The biggest and probably most important storyteller the world has ever had is also the artist who got more titles translated over the years. His work not only allows infinite interpretations and adaptations, but many of the sentences taken today as “cliché” - such as “you are speaking Greek to me” - were quoted by the man.

His legacy is able to provide inspiration to any author, anytime. So whether you are looking for ideas to start your story or studying ways to improve your writing and blow your mind, pay attention in Shakespeare! Follow his track:

1  -Storytelling

Developing new and relevant themes non obvious is at least complicated, but turning simple themes in great stories is where many writers slip. He revealed human anxieties and concerns, questioned existence and was good in any genre: romance, drama, adventure, comedy. So whatever you decide to write, he has important lessons to teach you. A good exercise is watch a movie or a play and imagine which written plot exist behind it.

2 – Belonging to the story

Questioning human existence and conflicts is an important ingredient of his plots. A few authors do it so magnificent. Shakespeare brings you straight to the story. You feel that you are part of it and that’s the magic you probably want to do with your writing. How? By studying his plots and the next tips.

3 – Describing emotions

Common feelings such as love or passion are often more complex to approach because they are used exhaustively. But whether it is a poem or a quote taken from any of his work, Shakespeare uses words and sentences to, more than describe, to transmit the feeling. He doesn’t talk about emotions, he makes you feel it. Some people use to say that if you don’t know what you are feeling, Shakespeare is able to describe and write it for you. So take some of his sentences and pay attention at his power of translating human emotions into words.

4 – More than language domain

Inventing new words and including it on a language through the centuries is not a job for anyone. Shakespeare not only dominated the language in an unbeatable way, but he also added and popularized some English terms. Did you know “fashionable” was inserted by him in “Troilus and Cressida”? Even George Bernard, who had serious issues about the poet, assumed his terms were immortal.

5 – Immortal sentences

From him emerged some of the most famous and impactful quotes, such as: “To be or not to be, this is the question”. John Bartlett wrote his first book of important quotes because of Shakespeare legacy. Today, it doesn’t inspire only drama in TV, movies or plays. A lot of writers include Shakespeare sentences directly in parts of their work. Auther Schnitzer, for example, took Hamlet passage 3.1 straight to his title: “The Undiscovered Country”

6 – Characters

Great and complex characters are the “soul’ of a surrounding story. A good way to build it is to think if your character is able to be reproduced – or interpreted – in plays. The more elements, the better. To make people recognize themselves on each one is primordial for a great story. What you can look for in Shakespeare characters: how the second ones are related to the main ones. Each act motivates an second action of other character. The central people usually teach abilities to domain or question life and has a bunch of feelings into it.

7 – More than inspiration

The modern literature is very inspired by his legacy. But if inspiration was not enough, by studying Shakespeare biography we also get the feeling of the “old English” words, or the “early modern English”. Of course discoursing about the contemporaneity of his traditional literature is the same of taking sand to the beach, but exploring reinterpretations is the best you can do to build original writing. Remember: Every single “old” word used is a new sign to explore and recreate now. Looking to the past to innovate your writing!


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