Playwriting for Profit

Playwriting for Profit

Playwriting for Profit

Playwriting for Profit

Excerpt

Probably no written work can use a preface more legitimately than a book on playwriting, for that kind of effort is surrounded by considerations not strictly germane to its subject but that nevertheless play a large part in its success. Their nature being such that they cannot well be noticed in the body of the text, they must be discussed separately; and a preface is an established way to do it.

The most serious condition of this kind is a wide prejudice of writing men themselves against books on technique. This would be defensible if they had read at least the standard works and then had barred out the others with them in an honest general dislike; but this is rarely true. Your average successful dramatist has read none of them, and even refuses to read them--although this is saying in effect that no one can teach him anything--which of course is an impossible situation for anyone who tries to learn, who hopes to be openminded and who is willing, if not eager, to listen to other opinions beside his own.

However, one simply has not the time to read everything written about any single profession. He would be foolish to undertake so much even if he could, for there comes a time in all technical reading when what follows is mere confirmation; and confirmation is better found in personal practice. The busy worker must discriminate. Raising which point, naturally brings up also the question why, then, a dramatist should read this book.

There are several reasons. First, this work, although never before published and only lately submitted for publication, already has gained a background of authority. Especial circumstances caused its circulation in manuscript throughout the past six or seven years. Twenty-six chapters out of forty-

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