Monday, July 23, 2007

"First Impressions"

In 1982, writer Chuck Ross conducted an experiment. He submitted the script for Casablanca (with a different title) to several hundred literary agents. Of those who read it and responded, 38 rejected it, 33 generally recognized it (but only eight specifically as Casablanca), three deemed it commercially viable, and one suggested turning it into a novel.

Another experiment, more gotchas.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My main complaint with “gotcha” tests like this is that they assume that writers like Jane Austin would write the same novels if they were alive today as they wrote in their own time – I submit that this is patently false. If Jane Austin were writing today, she would certainly not be writing about relationships in 18th century England. She would instead be writing about relationships today. It’s also a false assumption that even if “Pride and Prejudice” had not been written before that it would receive the same acclaim if it were written for the first time in the present day.

Great works of literature are products of the time in which they were written, Shakespeare would not be writing “Romeo and Juliet” or “Macbeth” were he writing today, and if he did, they would almost certainly not be widely acclaimed as they would have no resonance with people from the 20th/21st century. He might write similar plays but they would undoubtedly be set in more recent times with characters more recognizable to modern audiences.

7/23/2007 12:13 PM  
Blogger DED said...

The fact remains that there's no escaping the slush pile.

7/26/2007 9:43 PM  

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