Who Knew?

There’s a “legend” about freelance writer, Chuck Ross, who in 1982 re-wrote the film classic CASABLANCA, titling it EVERYBODY COMES TO RICK’S. (By the way, that’s the original title of the play written by Murray Bennett and Joan Alison.) Ross changed a few names, but essentially left the work exactly as it was. He then submitted the screenplay to over 200 agencies.

Shockingly few recognized it. Only three agencies thought the work was marketable. Many criticized the screenplay for having too much dialogue, not enough action. One agency suggested Ross try turning it into a novel.

Some aspiring writers might hear this tale and feel discouraged. “Jeez, if they don’t even like a classic such as CASABLANCA what chance do I have?” Yet I find the story funny and inspiring. To me its proof no one gets it right every time, even agents. The trick to success is to keep writing and submitting, believing in yourself and that someone out there knows a good story when they read it.


8 thoughts on “Who Knew?

  1. Lynn,
    This is too true, especially in today’s market. Some of the most successful writers who became an ‘overnight success’ spent years trying to get their work published, only to be rejected time and time again. Persistence is definitely the name of the game!

    • The difference between an aspiring writer and a published author is one keeps writing, no matter how often they get rejected. The other gets discouraged and quits

  2. Maybe that’s why people always say there are only seven (or nine or…. depending on who’s talking) plots in the world. Sharon Shinn purposely wrote a Jane Eyre book in space that worked very well.

    • How true, Jackie. They say there are no new stories out there, just newly re-told ones. But that’s the challenge–take something old and put your own twist on it.

  3. I love that story, Lynn. It really soothes the sting when someone doesn’t see the sheer fabulousness of something I’ve submitted to them. I may be gracious on the outside, but on the inside, I’m thinking, “Yeah, you people couldn’t even recognize Casablanca when you saw it on paper.”

  4. Oh Marilyn,

    I hear you there. There have been a few times I thought I could probably win an Oscar appearing calm on the outside when I’d really like to take a bite out of an editor or agent. If this writing thing doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll try acting. 🙂

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