17 October 2013 - JOHN STEINBECK'S TIPS



JOHN STEINBECK'S TIPS


G'day guys,

Welcome to some top tips from John Steinbeck ... and some of his quotes. John Steinbeck (1902-1968), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, achieved popular success in 1935 when he published Tortilla Flat. He went on to write more than twenty-five novels, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

 4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

These tips were included in a letter Steinbeck wrote to a friend and were published in the Fall 1975 issue of The Paris Review.



STEINBECK QUOTES:

 I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen.


JOHN STEINBECK, The Winter of Our Discontent

Oh, we can populate the dark with horrors, even we who think ourselves informed and sure, believing nothing we cannot measure or weigh. I know beyond all doubt that the dark things crowding in on me either did not exist or were not dangerous to me, and still I was afraid. 


JOHN STEINBECK, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

My dreams are the problems of the day stepped up to absurdity, a little like men dancing, wearing the horns and masks of animals.


JOHN STEINBECK, The Winter of Our Discontent

To finish is sadness to a writer—a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.


JOHN STEINBECK, The Paris Review, fall 1975

The free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for it is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost. 


JOHN STEINBECK, East of Eden



We have usurped many of the powers we once ascribed to God. Fearful and unprepared, we have assumed lordship over the life or death of the whole world — of all living things. The danger and the glory and the choice rest finally in man. The test of his perfectibility is at hand. Having taken Godlike power, we must seek in ourselves for the responsibility and the wisdom we once prayed some deity might have.

JOHN STEINBECK, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Dec. 10, 1962

I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.


JOHN STEINBECK, East of Eden

Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals. 


JOHN STEINBECK, Quote Magazine, Jun. 18, 1961

His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.


JOHN STEINBECK, Of Mice and Men

Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. 


JOHN STEINBECK, The Grapes of Wrath

It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There's a punishment for it, and it's usually crucifixion.


JOHN STEINBECK, East of Eden

A question is a trap, and an answer your foot in it. 


JOHN STEINBECK, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?



JOHN STEINBECK, East of Eden


Now, you might like to watch a video of his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature:




Clancy's comment: One interesting character, eh?

I'm ...






Think about this!