Stage Business


Sometimes it helps to add a small element to underscore some part of your story. Don’t distract from the larger story. You are either underlining something or you are helping to reengage the reader or you are making the reader feel special for noticing something and then continuing on your way.

When I was young I remember hearing a story on the radio about the production of the theme song for the movie “The Poseidon Adventure.” A french horn part was written and recorded for the whole song and yet only a few bars of the french horn were ever used. If it was used throughout the song it would not have had the same effect. The musician was paid as much for the notes that were never used as for those that were. Both the notes that were and weren’t used made the song what it was.

Kim and I rewatched the Steven Soderburgh remake of “Oceans 11″ last night. She’s always loved that Brad Pitt’s character eats throughout the movie. I didn’t notice it until she first mentioned it to me and now I can’t not notice it..

It’s like the first time you notice the easter egg in the FedEx logo. You wonder why you never saw it before and you can never not see it again.

Actors often include a little stage business. Maybe they always slip or the floor is sticky in some part of the stage. This is effective if it’s a quick moment that catches our attention without distracting us from what we’re supposed to be noticing.

As you think about the book you’re writing, where should you add a little french horn or feed one of your main characters. What little nuggets can you add to reengage your audience.