Reading Shakespeare for Writing Tips

Widely considered one of the best writers of all time, Shakespeare, whether you’re reading or analyzing his works, can often be intimidating.

But as writers, we can learn a great deal from the Bard.

First off, it is perfectly all right to borrow.  Many of the plots from Shakespeare’s greatest plays were ripped right from legend or history. But the important part is that Shakespeare didn’t just borrow; he took the basic elements of these stories and made them his own. He injected his own flavor and style into each work he produced and did it with the kind of flair that makes him worthy of so much praise and respect.

Every author borrows elements of their work, whether from situations in their own lives or from other literary works. What we can learn from him is that doing this consciously can allow you to bring certain themes to the forefront and use built in allusions to emphasize your main ideas.

Shakespeare is also known for the almost of humor in his writing. Of course, modern day audiences are not likely to read his writing and burst out laughing. These days, puns and wordplay are not often greeting with standing ovations. But back in his day, audiences would delight in the often rowdy jokes and innuendoes replete in his plays.

Of course, not every style of writing or type of genre is receptive to humor but in general, being able to make your readers laugh even when the situation is otherwise tense and the drama is high can still be a very good thing.

None of this is easy of course but then again, I doubt even Shakespeare himself thought it was easy.

-Alda Yuan

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Categories: Book Reviews

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