Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Writing Quotes’ Category

My St. Patrick’s Day Special on the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Eugene O’Neill (1888-1952) :

“I spent a year in Professor Baker’s famous class at Harvard. There, too, I learned some things that were useful to me—particularly what not to do. Not to take ten lines, for instance, to say something that can be said in one line.”
Eugene O’Neill
The American Magazine
November, 1922, page 32

And also from that article:

“And here is an interesting fact: O’Neill has a regular habit of work. The craving for freedom, for the indulgence of his own desires, which controlled him in his early manhood, is subordinated now to the good of his work. He, who used to be a rebel against routine, voluntarily follows a routine now, in this one direction. Like the rest if us, he has found that he must follow a regular habit of work if he is to accomplish anything.”
Mary B. Mullett
The Extraordinary Story Of Eugene O’Neill

P.S. The professor that Eugene O’Neill referenced was George Pierce Baker with whom O’Neill began studying under in the fall of 1914. O’Neill said of Baker,  “The plays I wrote for him were rotten… Yes, I did get a great deal from Baker–personally. He encourage me–made me feel it was worth while going ahead.”

Scott W. Smith

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

“There are a million talented writers who are unpublished only because they stop writing when it gets hard.”
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
More magazine October 2014

Read Full Post »

“There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three — storyteller, teacher, enchanter — but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer.
Russian American Novelist Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)
From Brain Picking article by Maria Popova

P.S. In the athletic world some unusually talented people have what’s known as an extra gear. (Probably true of any field, but I remember back in the day watching Deion Sanders returning punts and it’s easier to see that extra gear kick in when it happens in real time on national television. For Nabokov that extra gear for the writer is being the enchanter. Do you think Vladimir Nabokov and Deion Sanders have ever been mentioned in the same article ever before? By the way, I’ve worked with Deion and he’s not only a  Pro Football Hall-of-Famer but also a storyteller, teacher and enchanter.

Related post: Postcard #28 (Prime Time) 

Scott W. Smith

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

“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

Read Full Post »

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

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: