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Archive for the ‘Writing Quotes’ Category

Rebecca Lenkiewicz started out acting but in 2000 wrote a play that was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2004 her play The Night Season was staged at the Royal National Theater and she was awarded the Critics’ Circle Theatre for the Most Promising Playwright.  For the past decade she’s written playscripts for BBC Radio, adapted Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, and wrote the play Her Naked Skin. More people are now getting familar with her work because she’s the co-sceeenwriter of Ida.

“I’m interested in the frailty of people, trying to connect with each other or with something in the world.”
Screenwriter/playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz
The Guardian article by Maddy Costa

I found an interview where Lenkiewicz’s three favorite plays are King Lear, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Seagull.  And her favorite films; Les Enfants du Paradis, Carlito’s Way, Cabaret and Betty Blue.

P.S. And I don’t know if she’s still doing it, but I found a Faber Academy link online where Lenkiewicz taught a course in the UK called Write A Play in Tree Months. If anybody in London has notes or an outline from taking that class I’d love to see them.  The Faber Academy does have some podcasts on itunes and a You Tube Channel.

Scott W. Smith

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Writing Quote #49 (Maya Angelou)

“There’s a statement by [the Roman dramatist] Terence: ‘I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.’ If you know that, accept that, then you can tell a story. You can make people believe characters are just like they are. Jack and Jill went up the hill, one fell down and the other came tumbling after. The listener thinks, ‘Oh, I’ve fallen down, so I can understand,’ even if it happened in Holland or Kowloon. Human beings should understand how other humans feel no matter where they are, no matter what their language or culture is, no matter their age, and no matter the age in which they live. If you develop the art of seeing us as more alike than we are unalike, then all stories are understandable.”
Author Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
2013 Harvard Business Review interview by Alison Beard

P.S. Maybe I should write a post called Screenwriting from Kowloon.

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“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.”
Pulitzer-Prize winner John Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Of Mice and Men)
Travels with Charley: In Search of America

I generally try to discover my own quotes but this one came via a tag team effort—From The Black Board via @GoIntoTheStory (Scott Myers). Both worth following.

P.S. This is in line with the well-known saying; “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” And echoes of the classic Anne Lamott insight “Bird by Bird.”

Related posts:
Screenwriting Quote #66 (John Steinbeck)
Pages Per Day
Start Small…But Start Somewhere
Stephen King’s Double Wide Trailer “There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station.”—Stephen King
Travels with Steinbeck

Scott W. Smith

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Writing Quote #47 (Rod Serling)

“I don’t have any system. I dictate a lot, through a machine, and I also have a secretary. But I used to type just like everybody else. I find dictating in the mass media particularly good because you’re writing for voice anyway; you’re writing for people to say a line and, consequently, saying a line through a machine is quite a valid test for the validity of what you’re saying. If it sounds good as you say it, likely as not it’ll sound good when an actor’s saying it. The tendency when you dictate is to overwrite, because you’re not counting pages, you don’t really know what the hell the page count is. But in terms of standing up when I write, what hour I write, that all relates very specifically to the individual. Writers vary tremendously. Was it Tom Wolfe who stood up or was it Hemingway who had to stand up? I don’t know.  And I think Wolfe wrote in longhand. You know, it depends on the animal, particularly who’s doing it. In my case, the only thing I would say was part of the discipline is that I have to start writing quite early. I write much better in the nonconfines of the early morning than I do the clutter of the day.”
Rod Serling
1975 interview with Linda Brevelle

Related post: The Breakfast Club for Writers (2.0)

Scott W. Smith

 

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“When I decided to stop writing about five years ago I did, as you say, sit down to reread the 31 books I’d published between 1959 and 2010. I wanted to see whether I’d wasted my time. You never can be sure, you know. My conclusion, after I’d finished, echoes the words spoken by an American boxing hero of mine, Joe Louis. He was world heavyweight champion from the time I was 4 until I was 16. He had been born in the Deep South, an impoverished black kid with no education to speak of, and even during the glory of the undefeated 12 years, when he defended his championship an astonishing 26 times, he stood aloof from language. So when he was asked upon his retirement about his long career, Joe sweetly summed it up in just 10 words. ‘I did the best I could with what I had.'”
Philip Roth
My Life as a Writer
2014 New York Times interview by Daniel Sandstrom 

 

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“The process by which the idea for a play comes to me has always been something I really couldn’t pinpoint. A play just seems to materialize; like an apparition, it gets clearer and clearer and clearer. It’s very vague at first, as in the case of Streetcar, which came after Menagerie. I simply had the vision of a woman in her late youth. She was sitting in a chair all alone by a window with the moonlight streaming in on her desolate face, and she’d been stood up by the man she planned to marry.”
Tennessee Williams ( Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie)
The Paris Review 1981 interview by Dotson Radar

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“What I’m really involved in when I’m writing is something that no one ever mentions when they see any play. Writing is like trying to make gunpowder out of chemicals. You have these words and sentences and the strange meanings and associations that are attached to the words and sentences, and you’re somehow cooking these things all up so that they suddenly explode and have a powerful effect. That’s what absorbs me from day to day in writing a play.”
Actor/Playwright/Screenwriter Wally Shawn
EsquireThe Secret Life of Wally Shawn by Don Shewey

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“There’s no way to learn how to write a hit song. There’s no formula for it. You just have to have it inside of you.”
Beach Boys’ Al Jardine
Postcard from Big Sir by Rick Petreycik
Fretboard Journal 30

 

 

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“Run fast, stand still. This, the lesson from lizards. For all writers. Observe almost any survival creature, you can see the same. Jump, run, freeze. It the ability to flick an eyelash, crack like a whip, vanish like steam, here this instant, gone the next—life teems the earth. And when that life is not rushing to escape, it is playing statues to do the same….What can we writers learn from lizards? In quickness is truth. The faster you blunt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are….In between scurries and flights, what? Be a chameleon, ink-blend, chromosome change with the landscape.”
Ray Bradbury
Zen in the Art of Writing

 

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Writing Quote #41 (Tony Kushner)

“I get to say the thing that all writers must tell themselves to start writing—which is nobody has to see this thing. I can throw it away. I’m alone with it. No one has to know what an idiot I really am. And I can burn it. And if it don’t work, if it really sucks, I can pretend that it never really happened. “
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Tony Kushner (Lincoln, Munich) and Tony Award/Pulitzer Prize-winner
Tony Kushner interview at Dallas Art Museum

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