12 Most Fabulous Blogging Lessons from Les Miserables
Last year Neil Patrick Harris reminded us that musicals aren’t just for gays anymore. They have become widely embraced by the popular culture. I am focusing on Les Miserables which has been performed internationally for over 25 years. It is based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name whose narrative expertly weaves themes of poverty, politics, justice and religion. The enduring popularity of the show makes it a great candidate for exploration.
Today I want you to learn how to blog out loud by following conventions drawn from musical theater. Open up and sing with the 12 most fabulous lessons from Les Miserables.
1. Think globally
In one anniversary production they gathered all the international leading men. This line up included Chairman Koga (Takeshi Kaga) of Japan’s Iron Chef. Your blog also has an international audience you can accommodate. Include a translation tool to make your content more accessible.
2. Have a centerpiece
Having loved the book I did not know how it would translate to theater. I was shocked the first time I saw the musical and the set piece for the barricade. This piece of scenery took on a life of its own and became another character. Do you have a logo, graphic, or other feature on your blog that stands out similarly?
3. Sing it
We all know the conventions of a musical. The music gives characters a chance to express their innermost feelings and secrets. Blogs are unique because they do not have to follow formal writing rules. We have permission to use “I” and talk in the first-person. How can we use this to make our blogs sing?
The characters of Les Miserables represent different attitudes and lifestyles that existed in 19th century France. These messages continue to reach us over a hundred years later. To give longevity to your content utilize multi-media. Speak in the voices of all the platforms you have available; print, video, blogs & more.
5. Bring characters to life
When you blog how do you relate your topics to your readers? You can talk about Youtube as a resource for blogging. Show what you mean by making it personal instead. Discuss a channel that is doing it right/wrong. Just as the musical breathed life into the literary characters of Les Miserables we can put faces on our ideas.
6. Be thematic
Les Miserables is interesting because of how the characters lives intersect and reflect the themes of the novel. As I blog more I start to see specific narrative threads develop over time. Can you do more to bring out the themes of your blog?
7. Use motifs
Musical scores contain motifs whose repeating refrains unify the piece. Sometimes it is used to highlight differences/similarities between characters; compare “ValJeans Soliloquy” and “Javert’s Suicide”. Try using this technique by repeating a key phrase in your writing. Change the meaning of that phrase by altering the context in which it is presented.
The must well known song from Les Miserables is the first act finale “One Day More”. This epic song sums up each character’s story entering into the second act. Every once in awhile it is fun to write a piece with a grand scope. Rants and prediction posts are great opportunites to use this style.
9. Heart full of love
A “Heart Full of Love” is the song that describes Marius’ love for Cosette. This is presented as a true love and an enduring one. I think all bloggers should feel this love for their topics of discussion. If you find yourself struggling to write because you want to stick to your “niche” you may need to find a new one.
10. Both sides now
Javert and Val Jean are not so different from each other. Both are victims of a dogmatic sense of justice. In our writing we can reveal how two sides of an argument represent a similar idea. When news develops write about what it has to say about current trends instead of taking sides.
11. Write for longevity
After 25 years you might think we would be getting tired of the same performances. Today’s content is just as well preserved. Sites like the wayback machine reveal that your content may be archived for many generations. Always keep that in mind when you generate any piece of content.
12. Bring down the curtain
When the musical is over the red curtain comes down. We need to take off our blogging hats at the end of the day. Make unplugging from the computer a routine. Enjoy the time you have with friends and family.
Les Miserables is my favorite novel of all time. I read it every year finding new meaning in the novel’s themes. Strange to think upon its publication it received negative reviews from critics in France. Flaubert wrote that he could find, “neither truth nor greatness.” Think of that next time someone trolls you online. You may just become the most prolific author of the 21st century.
What book may inspire your blog?
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Featured image courtesy of Stock Xchange.