Friday, December 4, 2009

Asimov and Wharton for Writing Quote Time

"A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness."
- Edith Wharton

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success...but only if you persist."
- Isaac Asimov

From The Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter


David Cranmer said...

Both quotes are inspiring but the Asimov, in particular, made me reach for that drawer (laptop) he spoke of.

Randal Graves said...

Sometimes craniums are tasty.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't know if I agree with Asimov. Sometimes you need to rework it and rework it before you send it out. Sitting in a drawer might be better than sending the same bad story out.

lakeviewer said...

I better get those things out of the drawer, shine them up and send them off. What if I don't think they are ready? Or, how do I know they are ready to see the light of others?

Cormac Brown said...


Wonderful, I'm glad that this finally inspired someone.


Nice non-sequitor, you've completely thrown me off ; )


I agree with you and yet, on the other hand, I knew a screenwriter that just worked on the same screenplay for four years with no really noticeable improvement. Now, there was nothing inherently wrong with that, except he didn't have anything else in circulation. The thing that baffled me was that he had the connections back then and with the regieme changes that happen in Hollywood, I never understood why he didn't strike while the iron was hot.


Though I've never used it, Outside Writers has a Works-in-progress Feedback Group. You do have to join Outside Writers to use partake.

Check to see if there are any local writing groups in your area. You also might want to see if there are any writing groups online.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

I'd have to agree with Rosaria. At a certain point, some scripts or stories or manuscripts don't get better, they just get different. While you don't want to send a half-baked story into the writerverse, you don't want your heirs to find your best stuff rotting in a drawer or filed under "unfinished" in your laptop.

Cormac Brown said...


Sometimes someone has to have confidence in their writing and they can spend too long tweaking it. I'd like another six months for this project right now, but we both know that's not going to happen ; )

Coaster Punchman said...

Asimov's words remind me that I'm sad about the way that publishing has changed. In reality we're probably better off and overall better informed with the advent of electronic media, but it's discomforting that no one quite knows what the rules are any more for being published. Or what it even means to be published depending on what format you're looking at.

Cormac Brown said...


Like William Goldman said about Hollywood though it could be applied here, "nobody knows anything."

Between the Walmart-based pricing wars, E-books, Internet copyrigh piracy, the decline in literacy, and the economy, this has to be the scariest era ever for publishers.

I do think that publishers should to a better job of using the Internet to their advantage, and I've seen authors conduct far better marketing campaigns than the publishers did, with virtually no money involved.