A lot of Candide content coming up. For a Saturday, some writing (and playwriting) tips assembled from the Paris chapter of Voltaire’s masterpiece:
“How a play can be of some interest but of almost not merit:”
- It is not enough to contrive one or two situations found in any novel that always captivate audiences.
- One needs to be original without being far-fetched.
- Be sublime, but always natural.
- Write like a poet without letting the characters speak like poets.
- Never sacrifice sense to rhyme.
There are few good tragedies out there. These are the most common failures:
- Mere idylls in dialogue form.
- Political tracts in dialogue form.
- Addresses to gods by writers who cannot reach humans.
Voltaire intended a few shots at Corneille and Racine. Fun stuff.