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Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the art and culture category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

How We Work

I intervewed Simon Patterson last week, and something he said, discussing how his latest work fits his current practice, leapt out:

When I make a new piece of work, it feels like someone else’s

Then, a friend who is working on a treatment for a film mentioned that he was having trouble, since he always begins with roughly sketched characters, which develop as he writes, and in turn suggest the film’s plot and structure, but his agent is keen to see the whole picture from the get-go.

Not having a creative bone in my body - passing judgement on the work of others is much more my thing! - I always find these little insights into the process of making fascinating. This is why I’ve been following How We Work, a series of posts at Rodcorp examining the working methods of the great and good.

Here are some of my favourites, by some of my favourites, so far:

As an experience, madness is terrific… and not to be sniffed at, and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about. It shoots out of one everything shaped, final, not in mere driblets as sanity does.

- Virginia Woolf

I expressed myself badly when I said to you that “one should not write from the heart.” I meant to say: not put one’s personality into the picture. I think that great art is scientific and impersonal. One should, by an effort of mind, put oneself into one’s characters and not create them after oneself. That is the method at least; a method which amounts to this: try to have a great deal of talent and even of genius if you can.

- Gustave Flaubert

My plays are no more constructed than a carrot is constructed. My method is to hear the first part of a conversation in my head. Then I listen to someone else replying to the first statement. Soon this imaginary dialogue continues until I can flesh the conversationalists out with actual names and characteristics.

- George Bernard Shaw
(paraphrased by Isidor Saslav of the International Shaw Society)

A man would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket, and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought are commonly the most valuable, and should be secured, because they seldom return.

- Francis Bacon (the Elizabethan one)

As a writer I have discovered there are certain kinds of things for which I still need the pen, there are certain things for which I need the computer, certain things for which I need a felt-tipped pen. And the kind of instrument I am using is influencing my writing enormously.

- Umberto Eco

Posted at 2pm on 16/02/05 by Jack Mottram to the art and culture category.
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