5 Lessons the Musical "Wicked" Teaches Writers

You know that feeling when you finish an amazing movie and you still feel like you're in the story world for a half hour afterward?

I had the privilege of seeing Wicked and still feel that awe and immersion...27 hours later.  (I scheduled this post a few days ago.)  This play--more like theatrical experience--has been on my mind all day.  Not convinced?

What I was thinking about during a very interesting
discussion about Hamlet.  By some miracle, I managed
to multitask. (Source)

Me during a ridiculously boring math lesson (eww).

Me attempting a watercolor painting in art.

I went to see this play with my school drama club.  At dinner, (and really for the last 27 hours), all we have really talked about was the complexity of the plot, characters, and the fabulousness of the music.  So turn up your Wicked soundtrack, and please don't mind my frank analysis.  (Warning: this post contains spoilers, even though I am trying to avoid them.  Spoilers are labeled as such.  You have been warned...)

1. There are two sides to every story.

A lot of times, the Villain of the story has 0 backstory and 0 reasons for being evil other than the fact that it is her life mission to make the Hero miserable.  That doesn't make for a very interesting story.  Why does the Villain want the hero dead?  You don't have to glorify evil by doing this, just make sure she has some sort of motive.

"The wicked's lives are lonely."

2. You can have lot's of friends and yet no friends at all.

A character (or real life person) can know everyone in Shiz, yet still be lonely.  Loneliness can happen anywhere.  I know a lot of people at my school and spend a lot of time with my family, but I still get lonely sometimes. There are hard times when I feel so alone.  Yet I still have friends.  Sometimes authors forget that people with friends can get lonely.

3.  Story threads should tie together.

**Spoiler** Let's think about how Wicked ties into the Wizard of Oz.  The Wizard set up a scenario so that Elphaba would look evil to the people of Oz.  The headmistress summons the tornado that kills Nessa (nicknamed the Wicked Witch of the East), setting off the Wizard of Oz.  Elphaba turns evil from grief over Fiyero's "death" and her sister's death.  She really just wants everything to be normal and she wants something to remember her sister by--the shoes.  The events of Wicked prepared the characters for their journeys through the Wizard of Oz.  **end spoilers**


4. If a story ends perfectly a certain way, don't mess with it.

**Spoiler** I am one of those weird people who thinks Elphaba should have really died.  I mean, doesn't her fake death make "For Good" a little less meaningful?  Glinda told her best friend goodbye for the final time, believing that Elphaba was going to die.  And then she didn't.  I just think that the ending would have been more powerful if Elphaba really died.  So don't make this mistake in your own writing.  **end spoiler**

5. Leave room for speculation (but not too much).

After the play, my drama group spent a lot of time discussing the why and how of the play.  Like "how exactly was Elphaba green when she was born?" and  **spoiler** "Can Elphaba melt, or is that just what everyone thinks?"  **end spoiler**  I think it's neat when authors give the readers just enough information so that they understand what's going on, but not enough that they know everything there is to know.

Here are some pictures of when I went to see Wicked...
Amanda Jane Cooper (Glinda) and I.
Me and Emily Schultheis
(stand by for Elphaba).

Have you ever seen Wicked?  What did you think about it?  Are you obsessed with the music?  What did you take away from it?  I would love to hear your thoughts?


  1. Ooh, Wicked sounds like it's AH-MAZING! I haven't seen it, but now I REALLY want to xD. Loved this post, Alea - you gave some awesome tips ;). Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Savannah

    1. I'm still in awe, really. If you ever have the chance to see it, do! In the meantime, listen to the soundtrack (it's pretty amazing too). Thanks for reading, Savannah!

  2. YES!!! I'm so glad you saw it! And loved it! ANd AHHHH!!!!!

    Great tips. I'm totally a happy-ending type of person (which you wouldn't guess from ATtD & ATtS) so I was secretly happy Elphaba didn't die. :P But I was more bothered that she allowed Glinda to THINK she was dead. *mean friend* :P

    Love the photos!

    1. I KNOW! I'm very obsessed now. :D

      My fangirl side is very happy Elphaba didn't die, but my writer side is sad. I just think that it takes away from the story. *shrugs*

      Thank you so much for reading!

  3. These are such good thoughts, Alea! :) I love how you pointed out that story threads should tie together; I have a tendency to let threads wander off...

    I love Wicked so much, but I've never seen it before. :( :( What was your favorite part of seeing it live?

    1. I think most people have trouble holding onto those tiny little threads.

      0.0 You must see it sometime! I can't pick a favorite. The entire thing gave me chills. And I cried. And I laughed. And I completely fell in love. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. (And the actors in the performance I saw were even better than the original actors.)

  4. Wicked is seriously incredible!! :-D I've seen it when it came here to Aus (OZ) and ohmywordy it's just.. ahh no words ..
    Great post!

    1. It really is! *belts into song* That's AWESOME that you got to see it!!!


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