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type of manager is to blame. We've been it is an association of ideas — the more abtrying to draw away from the old conditions stract and metaphysical, the less important for some time, but they would n't let us. the situations become ; the ideas are conNow there is springing up a class of young veyed in dialogue briefly - plot formulates play brokers who are forcing the managers
itself in obedience to types. to accept the plays that the public wants, and I generally, always, if possible, have in not only wants, but needs. These are the mind some definite effect I hope to produce men who are doing more than any one else on the mind of the reader, unless there is a to uplift the stage — and they're going to sensational scenic feature where there is no succeed, too.
reason for the writing apart from its immeI don't care for the fact that they don't diate influence on the spectator's feelings, like my plays over in England. They're certainly not on his reasoning faculties. dead, passé, archaic over there. This is the Indirectly I take my characters from real country where the big problems of the world life. One forms an idea from a particular have got to be worked out — this country and generality in type — for instance, right here, where we've got Jew, Irishman, Ready Money Rider in “ The Lion and the Frenchman, German, Italian, Russian, and Mouse" might be one particular millionaire ; black man all fighting for existence. And in it was intended to be a composite. Anton the solving of these problems the stage is Von Barwig, in “The Music Master," was going to play a very great part.
an old musician I knew in London. Every play that I've written has been I write every day from eight till one — written with a deep, underlying purpose in
afterward — nor before. I write, mind. I don't know whether or not the whether I have inclination or not — but work public has recognized that purpose — I hope I must — 700 or 800 words a day, to which they have — but at all events it has been are added 1,000 more in alteration and addithere just the same. In that respect there tion to those of the previous day. Of course are a whole lot of other young playwrights obstacles arise. Of course characters balk; just like me. We're just the pioneers in the and when they do you can depend on the field, though. But after we're gone and for- writer balking, too. gotten - as we will be — there will spring There is no law forcing these conditions — up men who will perpetuate the work and they happen or they don't happen ; it dewill be great.
pends on the inner necessity. If the ground And so, as I said at first, I don't know is well laid, things go smoothly, if not — how I write my plays. I write them because not. The motif of a play or its formulative the times demand them — because I have to.
stage is largely dependent on the unceasing Charles Klein : If I am writing a melo- concentration of the author. He wants an drama or a play frankly for the purpose of idea - it comes to him, how or why I know theatric effect, I make the characters sub- not ; but here is the idea, and this depends sidiary to the working out of situation ; but largely on inspiration - or it ought to. To in the prese: tation of a social problem – in clothe it depends on technique, the author's a picture of conditions — the characters con- good taste in selection, characterization, control the sitriation ; sometimes a character struction, etc. ; in fact, the work of playsuggests an idea, sometimes the idea the
writing is so largely interdependent that I character. It depends on the initial impulse, really don't know where one fault leaves off and this in turn depends on the exigency or and the other begins. necessity of the requirements.
I think it's a great mistake for an author A condition of social life to-day presents to write just what he thinks the public wants, a problem. The problem suggests the means for they don't know what they want (they for working itself out, and the characters want whatever is good), and if one's work most likely to bring out the pro and con of is too largely influenced by the momentary the problem are selected. The situation then taste of the public, he is apt to be influenced follows the story, which by this time is sug- to such an extent by the latest success that gested by the characters ; in its final analysis he may be accused of lack of originality.
The Writer is published the first day of every month. It will be sent, postpaid, ONE YEAR for ONE DOLLAR.
cause of the absence of a comma, the Massachusetts automobile law, instead of fixing a penalty for reckless driving, imposes punishment on those guilty of automobiling on roads “laid out recklessly or while under the influence of liquor.” The law begins : “Whoever operates an automobile or motor cycle on any public way or private way laid out under authority of law recklessly or while under the influence of liquor, or so as to endanger the lives or safety of the public,” etc. Only a few years ago the absence of a semi-colon in a Massachusetts law closed all the hotel bars in the state every week-day night at ii o'clock.
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The need of using the hyphen in compound adjectives is illustrated by the misprinted phrase “a cement mixing trough," and also by the statement of a famous hunter that he was never really happy until he “had killed a man eating tiger."
A critic in the London Saturday Review, after declaring that the late William Ernest Henley was not a great writer, either in prose or in verse, goes on to say :
“ His well-known quatrains, ' Out of the night that. covers me,' admirable as a piece of epigram, fall short of poetry by their very directness. Their excellence, in fact, is purely a prose excellence, the rhyme and metre notwithstanding. Only the greatest poets can invest with magic a piece of ethical statement. Compare the quatrains with Words. worth's “The World is too much with us,' and their prosaic quality is at once evident. There is all the difference in the world between the passion of an instinctive poet and the utterance, however terse and strong, of the talented writer. We commend these lines — perhaps the most familiar of Henley's verses — to the close consideration of all who admire them as poetry, for they make a fair test of his merit in this direction."
Here is the plain statement that true poetry cannot be direct. There would seem to be room for discussion on this point.
Milton affirmed that the “simple and sincere” manner must pervade all good writing, whether poetry or prose.
The same idea is contained in the saying of Vauvenargues : “In order to know if a thought
The need of accuracy in punctuation is illustrated again by the discovery that, be
is new, one has only to express it quite the payments should be only for a limited simply.” Nietzsche says : “ The misfortune time. After that, by a close approach to of lucid writers is that people think them common agreement, his exclusive rights exsuperficial, and consequently take no trouble pire, and anybody who thinks his books will in reading them ; while the chance for ob- sell has the privilege of printing them. For scure writers is that the reader has to labor
years past the tendency in civilized countries hard in order to understand them, and credits has been slowly to extend the author's them with contributing the pleasure that he monopoly, and thereby to increase his derives from his own diligence.”
emoluments. It may be, therefore, that an unlimited copyright will come at some time
in the future, but at present it seems rather Andrew Lang wishes the world to under- like an idle dream, and Mr. Clemens doubtstand that he is industrious and not above less knows that in his new corporation he detail work, however little he may like it. It will leave to his heirs little more than a basis is better, he thinks, to be a novelist than an
for lawsuits, which they can hardly hope to historian. The latter, he says, “may make win." money enough to pay his typist — and consider his labors !” Mr. Lang adds :
The New York Sun tends to take the “I speak feelingly — indeed, sorely — having written an historical book of about the length of a com.
ground that limited copyright is justifiable. mon novel. There are some fifteen hundred refer- " In the case of the Mark Twain incorporaences to 'anthorities,' as my printer ingeniously mis- tion," it says, “a legal experiment is conprinted the word. First, I put them into the manu
templated. The explanation has been offered script as they occurred, and then twice compared
that when the pen name is the property of every mortal one of them with the volumes and pages to which they referred. Then they were all a perpetual corporation, Mr. Clemens's heirs typed separately, and were again verified for the third
will be in a position to enjoin perpetually the time. Then they were printed and verified for the
publication of all of the Mark Twain books fourth time, in print, which yields six thousand
not authorized by the Mark Twain Comcases of looking up a passage. After all, it is certain that some numerals will be wrong, and then the critic pany.' If this could be done, should we not will come and raise an outcry."
witness a general assumption of pen names by authors who cared not a straw for im
mortality, and would not authors and their Mr. Clemens's move in creating the Mark
heirs enjoy an absolute monopoly in spite of Twain Corporation, with a view to securing
the copyright law? We fancy that it would to his family and heirs the profits of publish
not be long before the legislature intering his books after the copyrights on them
vened.” have expired, has aroused general interest. The New York Times doubts the efficacy of the scheme. “As the law stands," it says,
On the other hand, Mr. Clemens's literary “ we cannot see that the Mark Twain Corpo- agent, Ralph W. Ashcroft, thinks that the
Mr. Ashration will serve the designed purpose of giv- corporation scheme will work.
croft says : ing to Mr. Clemens and his heirs and their heirs perpetual and exclusive power to draw “ Mr. Clemens has been troubled for a year by the
knowledge that the copyright of his works would profit from his books. It is not easy to say
soon expire, and that strangers instead of his own why they should not have it, but somehow
kin would read the financial benefit from his literary there seems to be a general feeling in all
works. He has been in consultation with Mr. Hobbs countries that the author is in some way or and myself practically every week. We finally hit on degree different from other producers, and the plan of incorporating the Mark Twain name
itself. We believe that when this name is the propwhile it is admitted nowadays that he should
erty of a perpetual corporation, Mr. Clemens's heirs be paid for his work, if it be worth buying,
will be in a position to enjoin perpetually all publi. with the admission goes an assumption that cation of the Mark Twain books not authorized by
Mendès, Catulle, 56
Scott's “ Lady of the Lake," External Nature in,
Younglove, 50 Sembower, Alta Brunt, 107 Shafter, Julia Lawrence, A Lapse of Mark Twain's,
176, 188 Newell, Maude Woodruff, 119 News and Notes, 15, 31, 47, 62, 80, 94, 110, 128, 143,
159, 174, 187
120, 136, 153, 166, 183
Walter, Klein, 2
Tennyson, Alfred, 137, 155, 168
Theme in Poetry and Prose, 113
“ Lady of the Lake,” 50
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE TO INTEREST AND HELP ALL LITERARY WORKERS.
BOSTON, JANUARY, 1909.
ENTERED AT THE BOSTON POST-OFFICE AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER.
eye simply because he does not know his
market. CONTENTS :
And this is costly. Leaving out the quesMARKETING MANUSCRIPTS. W. Carey Wonderly .
tion of postage both ways and envelopes — THE WRITING OF Plays. Israel Zangwill, Percy two each time a manuscript is sent out — the
Mackaye, Clyde Fitch, Booth Tarkington, Eugene continual returning of a story or article Walter, Charles Klein
again and again by magazine after magazine EDITORIAL
will tell in time upon the stoutest heart. Importance of Punctuation, 6 - Must True Poetry Be Obscure ? 6 – The Historian's The story which you once hailed with enTask, 7- The Mark Twain Corporation, 7– thusiasm becomes weak and commonplace, a Disfigurement of Manuscripts by Editors . 8
thing unsalable, and you begin to wonder " NEWSPAPER ENGLISH” Edited .
whether you have any real talent, after all. WRITERS OF THE DAY
This is the most natural feeling in the world, Mary Constance Du Bois, 8 – Arnold Haul. tain, 8 - Edith Hibbard, 9- Walter Leon
but very often the story would have found a Sawyer, 9 - Effie Smith, 10- Emerson Tay
home long ago had its author but taken the lor
proper care to learn where it would receive PERSONAL Gossip ABOUT AUTHORS
a ready welcome. Manuscripts sent out in Paul H. Hayne, 10 - S. Weir Mitchell, 10
haphazard fashion seldom come to any good. Charles Dudley Warner CURRENT LITERARY Topics
In fact, after a time their parent comes to reHow “ Ben Bolt " Was Written, II- The
gard them as being very poor stuff indeed. Pigeon-hole Snare, 12 - Literary Questions 13 Every writer should make it a point to see Book Reviews
at least a certain number of magazines each LITERARY ARTICLES IN PERIODICALS
month. All of these cannot be read thorNEWS AND Notes .
oughly or dissected page by page, but a
glance at the table of contents, a knowledge MARKETING MANUSCRIPTS. of the names of contributors will help out
wonderfully. In this way the general motif
of the publication can be gained, and a little Nowadays, with almost every magazine in
further study will show you that while all of the country using short stories, at least one
them use short stories, the short stories or two in a single issue, it would seem that
themselves in the different magazines are as the aspiring author would have a compara
different and as wide apart as the poles themtively easy time of it in marketing his wares.
selves. And he would have, did he but study his
It is not enough to know that Harper's, market a little more closely.
the Smart Set, the Argosy, and the Red The broker, the actor, even the corner
Book use short stories. They do — but grocer gives time and attention to the market
what a wonderful difference between them ! wherein he would earn a livelihood, but the
A Smart Set story would never do for the author for the most part contents himself
Argosy, and a Red Book story would be with writing a story and then sending it off, equally out of place in Harper's. And yet haphazard, to his favorite magazine,” or to each story is good in its own way, the difsome journal he knows only by repute. And
ference resting in the secret that they are of nine times out of ten he fails to hit the bull's
a different type. Therefore, how can a perCopyright, 1909, by William H. Hills. All rights reserved.