Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Writing Quotes’ Category

“I want to put a group of characters (perhaps a pair; perhaps even just one) in some sort of predicament and then watch them try to work themselves free. My job isn’t to to help them work their way free, or manipulate them to safety, but to watch what happens and then write it down. The situation comes first. The characters—always flat and unfettered, to begin with—come next. Once these things are fixed in my mind, I begin to narrate. I often have an idea what the outcome may be, but I have never demanded of a set of characters that they do things my way. On the contrary, I want then to do things their way. In some instances, the outcome is what I visualized. In most cases, however, it’s something I never expected.”
Stephen King
On Writing, pages 164-165

P.S. A good example of this is King thought the writer in his novel Misery  (played by James Caan in the movie version)  would be killed by the crazy pig lady. But the writer had a will to live.

Related posts:
Screenwriting & Slavery to Freedom

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“I began this whole writing enterprise with the idea that you go to work in the morning like a banker, then the work gets done. John Cheever used to tell how when he was a young man, living in New York with his wife, Mary, he’d put on his suit and hat every morning and get in the elevator with the other married men in his apartment building. These guys would all get out in the lobby but Cheever’d keep going down into the basement, where the super had let him set up a card table. It was so hot down there he had to strip to his underwear. So he’d sit in his boxers and write all morning, and at lunchtime he’d put his suit back on and take the elevator up with the other husbands—men used to come home for lunch in those days—and then he’d go back to the basement in his suit and strip down for the afternoon’s work. This was an important idea for me—that an artist was someone who worked, not some special being exempt from the claims of ordinary life.”
Writer Tobias Wolff (This Boy’s Life, The Night in Question)
the Paris Review, interviewed by Jack Livings

Related posts:
‘Art is Work’—Milton Glaser
Stephen J. Cannell’s Work Ethic
Honing Your Craft

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“I was telling somebody yesterday that when I got to the airport in Cincinnati where I flew from that I ran into a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while. And he had seen the movie The Butler. And my friend Kevin— he and I hadn’t had the chance to talk about it since it came out— and he asked me, ‘Wil, has your life changed much since the movie came out?’ It made some money, it won some awards, it’s now played in 72 foreign countries. It became this wonderful, phenomenal hit. And I told Kevin my life is still the same. I’m still the same cat that I’ve always been. But I did make note of this little fact, that after the movie grosses exceeded 100 million dollars I heard from both of the ladies who turned me down for the high school prom. What’s up with that?”
Writer/reporter Wil Haygood (The Butler: A Witness to History)
Speaking at Valencia College on February 17, 2016
Haywood’s 2008 Washington Post article A Butler Well Served by This Election was the inspiration for the movie Lee Daniels’ The Butler written by Danny Strong.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the journey of Wil Haygood in telling the story The White House butler who served under eight Presidents of the United States.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career, that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee (1926-2016)

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“To write well, I advise people to read widely. See how people who are successful and good get their results, but don’t copy them. And then you’ve got to write! We learn to write by writing, not by just facing an empty page and dreaming of the wonderful success we are going to have. I don’t think it matters much what you use as practice, it might be a short story, it might be the beginning of a novel, or it might just be something for the local magazine, but you must write and try and improve your writing all the time. Don’t think about it or talk about it, get the words down.”
Novelist PD James (1920-2014)
BBC News

P.S. Several movies and TV shows were based on James’ writings including Children of Men (2006). A movie that includes the intense scene below that also took a major technological feat to pull off. Shot by two time Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, Gravity), who received an Oscar-nomination this year for shooting The Revenant.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Writing Quote #53 (Ray Bradbury)

Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451) is yet another writer who had that Midwest/Hollywood thing going on. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, and raised on comic books, carnivals, and Edgar Allen Poe, he graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1938. (And for what it’s worth, he did not attend college.)

When he died in 2012 at the age of 91 he had been a best-selling author, co-wrote the Moby Dick (1956) screenplay with John Huston, and was a Daytime Emmy-winner (The Halloween Tree). He published over 50 books and his IMDB credits span over 70 years.

“If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is—excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health.

How long has it been since you wrote a story where your real love or your real hatred somehow got onto the paper? When was the last time you dared release a cherished prejudice so it slammed the page like a lightning bolt? What are the best things and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to get around to whispering or shouting them?”
Ray Bradbury
Zen in the Art of Writing
(
Chapter on The Joy of Writing, pages 4&5) 

Read Full Post »

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 encouraged me–made me feel it was worth while going ahead.”

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: