"I've told many people that writing an opera libretto is unlike any other creative writing endeavor. There are aspects of poetry and aspects of playwriting, but if you lean too heavily in either of those directions you are bound to fail. You can't have the staged action show nearly as much as you can in screenwriting, but you can't come close to the expository sections you can get away with in writing novels or short stories. You have to convey just as much story and art in about one third the word count you've allotted in playwriting. So you can't be married to your words, or to your self esteem, your ego, if you want to successfully pair with a composer and get your story across.
Being a librettist is possibly the most challenging while at the same time being the lease rewarding (in terms of fortune or fame) creative writing craft, which probably goes a long way to explaining why there are so few librettists around. Yet despite the immense challenge of crafting a libretto, as a writer, you're typically faced with far fewer opportunities to hone your piece in advance. The feedback writers get in workshops for novels or plays just doesn't exist for librettists outside a couple of rare opportunities."
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