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Archive for the ‘Writing Quotes’ Category

“For me, it was a matter of years of trying to develop my writing in the same way that some people spend years learning to play the violin.”
Writer/director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption)

Note: I pulled this quote from my 2008 post Screenwriter’s Work Ethic. I think it might have originally been from the book Zen and the Art of Screenwriting (Vol. 2) by William Froug. In my nine years of writing this blog that the team of consistently developing their talents is one of the most common traits for screenwriters that produce the best work.

Related posts:
The Secret to Being a Successful Screenwriter (Seriously) — John Logan
How to Be a Successful Screenwriter —Michael Arndt

 

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“Of course Nebraska is a storehouse for literary material. Everywhere is a storehouse of literary material. If a true artist were born in a pigpen and raised in a sty, he would still find plenty of inspiration for work. The only need is the eye to see.”
Willa Cather
My Antonia

P.S. I pulled this quote from my 2008 post Screenwriting from Nebraska. 

Related posts:
“Wake Up and Pay Attention”—Alexander Payne (Nebraska native)
‘My Nebraska’
The Nebraska Mafia in L.A. 

Scott W. Smith

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Once upon a time I started a little blog called Screenwriting from Iowa. It was meant to be a one year experiment—but here I am nine years later. My original goal was to gather some notes together and eventually organize them into a 50,000 word book.

More on the book and the direction of this blog later this month, but this year will be heavy on revisiting some of the over 2,000 blog posts I written. Sometime they will be the full post slightly updated, and other times it will be just a quoted pulled from a longer post that deserves to stand on it’s own.

Today’s quote is pulled from the 1510 word post Can Screenwriting Be Taught (2.0): 

“I felt the years go by without accomplishment. Occasionally I wrote a short story that no one bought. I called myself a writer though I had no true subject matter. Yet from time to time I sat at a table and wrote, although it took years for my work to impress me.”
Bernard Malamud (The Natural and Pulitzer Prize winner The Fixer)

Note: Malamud was born in 1914 and didn’t have his first novel published until 1952. That novel finally made its way to the big screen in 1984 with Robert Redford starring as The Natural.  The screenplay was written by Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry. The film was directed by Barry Levinson between directing Diner and Rain Man (for which Levsinson won his sole Oscar)—three personal favorite films of mine.

Scott W. Smith

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“I write about outsiders seeking redemption in one form or another and always will.”
Novelist Anne Rice  (The Vampire Chronicles)
2016 Billboard interview with Alice Cooper

Related posts:
Hope & Redemption
Storytelling Soul Game
Fear, Pity, Catharsis (Tip #69)
Broken Wings & Silver Lining
‘The Verdict’ Revisited

Scott W. Smith

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Writing Quote #62 (Mamet)

“All plays are about lies. A misimagined or misdescribed situation is presented to the hero, and he must either uncover the lie that engendered it (Hamlet) or strive to create those lies he thinks will extract him from the situation (All My Sons). When the lie is revealed, the play is over.”
David Mamet
Theatre, page 61

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Writing Quote #61 (Cheever/Stegner)

“The novelist and short story writer John Cheever, when asked why he wrote did not say, ‘To show the upper middle class lives of Connecticut.’ He said, ‘To make sense out of my life.”
Wallace Stegner
On Teaching and Writing Fiction

P.S. Both Wallace Stegner and John Cheever had connections to Iowa. Stegner (who won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1972) was born in Lake Mills, Iowa and received his Master’s and Ph.D at the University of Iowa. He went on to start the writing program at Stanford University where his students (which he did not claim credit for) included Wendell Berry, Ken Kesey, Ernest Gaines, and Larry McMurtry. Cheever, who won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,  spent a semester teaching (and drinking with Raymond Carver) at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Scott W. Smith

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“If you want to perform five minutes of good comedy, write what you think is three hours of great comedy.”
Comedian/writer/director Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk with Me)
Interview with Tim Ferriss

P.S. One excellant documentary that shows Birbiglia’s quote in action is Comedian, Jerry Seinfeld’s love letter to comedy.

Related Link:
Jerry Seinfeld Interview: How to Write a Joke
Seinfeld on What Drives Comedy

Related posts:
‘Art is Work’—Milton Glaser
Frank Gehry on Creativity 
Stephen King’s Double Wide Trailer (Could be subtitled “Writing is Work.”)
Billy Wilder on Writing “(Writing) is blood, sweat, and tears, believe me. ”
Art & Fear
Off-Screen Quote #15 (Edgar Degas)
Screenwriter’s Work Ethic (tip #2)
The Secret to Being a Successful Screenwriter (Seriously)

Scott W. Smith

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