Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them!
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Do writers write in A Capella? In some ways this is a very difficult question to answer. It could be argued that unless otherwise stated (i.e. collaboration of the minds) a writer is unaccompanied. On the other hand, a good writer doesn’t just sit down and spew out their thoughts randomly – they perform research, they discuss topics with experts, they write based on knowledge obtained from all aspects of life. They may have an editor handy, who reviews their work and makes changes. The work is in their own voice, but is more like a vocalist accompanied by a band. At what point is the work really theirs vs. a team effort? Books are attributed to the author, unless it happens to be a harlequin romance, not an ensemble.
I used to think I would make an excellent editor. I was one who noticed the errors in the books I read, and not just perceived grammatical errors (as apparently I don’t have a completely firm grasp on those) but misspellings, or times when names were confused in the telling. As for movies if, lets say: the actor had their scarf tied to the right as they left a room, only to have it tied to the left as they entered, it would offend my gentle sensibilities. When forced, however, to edit several documents for attorneys over the years – where a mistake could cost me my job… I discovered I didn’t enjoy editing quite so much. It is a necessary evil if you would like to become a writer though. Very rarely does one come out of the chute with a publisher, editor, and various sponsors at their beck and call. Besides, as I am finding – editing your own material makes you a better writer overall.
There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:
And as the mind is pitch’d the ear is pleased
With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch’d within us, and the heart replies.
There is in souls a sympathy with sounds – but there is also yearning deep inside of our souls to be one with others as well. This is why people write. Not just to get rid of the demons in their head (although it can be rather therapeutic). I almost always read the preface to a book, and find it interesting how the author takes the time to acknowledge various parties. These are the people who influenced the author, or helped them in some way, shape, or form. So many authors thank the audience at large, for as they meet them in public gatherings they give feedback that enriches the author’s writings.
I’ll leave you with a final thought and a final quote. The bulk of writing is a creation by the author, tweaked by others who have some sort of influence on them. At least, this is my opinion. What are your thoughts in this regard?
I don’t believe a committee can write a book. It can, oh, govern a country, perhaps, but I don’t believe it can write a book. ~Arnold Toynbee