Monday, April 04, 2011

Thoughts on writing

·  David Mamet states that human beings do not "communicate our wishes to each other, but we communicate to achieve our wishes from each other. We do not speak the desire but speak that which is most likely to bring about the desire."
People may or may not say what they mean... but they always say something designed to get what they want.
·  Italo Calvino: "Both in art and in literature, the function of the frame is fundamental. It is the frame that marks the boundary between the picture and what is outside. It allows the picture to exist, isolating it from the rest; but at the same time, it recalls--and somehow stands for--everything that remains out of the picture. I might venture a definition: we consider poetic a production in which each individual experience acquires prominence through its detachment from the general continuum, while it retains a kind of glint of that unlimited vastness."

·  Howard Hawks, on what makes a great movie: “Three great scenes. No bad scenes.”
·  F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Start with a person in mind and you can create a character, but start with a character (stereotype) in mind and you create nothing.”

· Raymond Chandler:  “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.”

·  Kurt Vonnegut:
Now lend me your ears. Here is Creative Writing 101:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things - reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

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