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Old 07-29-2013, 03:16 PM   #1
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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Writing/Writer Quotes

A couple to prime the pump. Please post your favorite writing/inspiration/instructional quotes from or about writers/writing.

The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make them appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock — to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the blind you draw large and startling figures.
— Flannery O'Connor


When you first start writing stories in the first person if the stories are made so real that people believe them the people reading them nearly always think the stories really happened to you. That is natural because while you were making them up you had to make them happen to the person who was telling them. If you do that successfully enough you make the person who is reading them believe that the things happened to him too. If you can do this you are beginning to get what you are trying for which is to make the story so real beyond any reality that it will become a part of the reader's experience and a part of his memory. There must be things that he did not notice when he read the story or the novel which without his knowing it, enter into his memory and experience so that they are a part of his life. This is not easy to do.
- Ernest Hemingway
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:23 PM   #2
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I like one usually attributed to Walter Wellesley “Red" Smith -- "There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

And Thomas Berger's "Why do writers write? Because it isn't there"
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
John Carroll
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"I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done."
- Steven Wright

And this one:

"There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are."
- Somerset Maugham

Last edited by John Carroll; 07-29-2013 at 10:16 PM. Reason: added quote
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:23 AM   #4
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I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
~Mark Twain - Letter to D. W. Bowser, 20 March 1880



There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:05 AM   #5
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about.
I was trying to do this all the time I was writing , and it was good and severe discipline.
- Ernest Hemingway (from A Moveable Feast)
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:20 AM   #6
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First, let me say that there's only one way to be a writer, and that is to apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and write. Everything else is just talk. So: 1) I don't force myself to write a certain amount every day, but I also don't wait for inspiration to strike. I write every day, and every day I give myself permission to write badly. If it *is* bad, I can always improve it when I rewrite. The important thing is to keep writing. As the music critic Newman once said of Beethoven, "Great composers do not compose because they are inspired. They become inspired because they are composing." 2) I learned long ago that it's important to avoid burnout. I write five days a week. And when it's quitting time, I quit, no matter how inspired I may be feeling. I don't write on weekends, or in the evenings, or on vacation. Rest refertilizes the brain.
-- Stephen Donaldson, Apr-2004

Taken from an answer on his Gradual Interview. Lots of interesting reading there for those that like his books.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
First, let me say that there's only one way to be a writer, and that is to apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and write. Everything else is just talk. So: 1) I don't force myself to write a certain amount every day, but I also don't wait for inspiration to strike. I write every day, and every day I give myself permission to write badly. If it *is* bad, I can always improve it when I rewrite. The important thing is to keep writing. As the music critic Newman once said of Beethoven, "Great composers do not compose because they are inspired. They become inspired because they are composing." 2) I learned long ago that it's important to avoid burnout. I write five days a week. And when it's quitting time, I quit, no matter how inspired I may be feeling. I don't write on weekends, or in the evenings, or on vacation. Rest refertilizes the brain.
-- Stephen Donaldson, Apr-2004

Taken from an answer on his Gradual Interview. Lots of interesting reading there for those that like his books.
Great quote and advice I think!

Last edited by kennyc; 08-05-2013 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:59 PM   #8
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By the time Chekhov died of tuberculosis at the age of forty-four, he had written, in addition to his plays, approximately six hundred short stories. He was also a medical doctor. He supervised the construction of clinics and schools, he was active in the Moscow Art Theater, he married the famous actress Olga Knipper, he visited the infamous prison on Sakhalin Island and wrote a book about that. Once, when someone asked him his method of composition, Chekhov picked up an ashtray.
“This is my method of composition,” he said. “Tomorrow I will write a story called ‘The Ashtray.’”
His letters are filled with revealing and immensely useful reflections on writing in general and, in particular, on the writer’s need for objectivity, the importance of seeing clearly, without judgment, certainly without prejudgment, the necessity that the writer be “an unbiased observer.”

- Francine Prose from Reading like a Writer Ch. 10

600 stories in say 30 years….. that’s an average of 20 per year…
…..Plus Everything else he did…..I think it was cause he didn’t have the internet.

Last edited by kennyc; 08-13-2013 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:19 PM   #9
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I think it was cause he didn’t have the internet.
This.
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
By the time Chekhov died of tuberculosis at the age of forty-four, he had written, in addition to his plays, approximately six hundred short stories. He was also a medical doctor. He supervised the construction of clinics and schools, he was active in the Moscow Art Theater, he married the famous actress Olga Knipper, he visited the infamous prison on Sakhalin Island and wrote a book about that. Once, when someone asked him his method of composition, Chekhov picked up an ashtray.
“This is my method of composition,” he said. “Tomorrow I will write a story called ‘The Ashtray.’”
His letters are filled with revealing and immensely useful reflections on writing in general and, in particular, on the writer’s need for objectivity, the importance of seeing clearly, without judgment, certainly without prejudgment, the necessity that the writer be “an unbiased observer.”

- Francine Prose from Reading like a Writer Ch. 10

600 stories in say 30 years….. that’s an average of 20 per year…
…..Plus Everything else he did…..I think it was cause he didn’t have the internet.
To me it sounds like he was saying that a story can be found anywhere if the writer is just willing to look for it.
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:48 AM   #11
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“A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.” - Aldous Huxley
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:31 AM   #12
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Sometimes stories cry out to be told in such loud voices that you write them just to shut them up.
-- Stephen King, Just After Sunset
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:38 AM   #13
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since it's his birthday:

what matters most is how well you walk through the fire
- Charles Bukowski
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:36 PM   #14
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"That's not writing, it's typing."
--Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:38 PM   #15
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"That's not writing, it's typing."
--Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac
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