Favorite Quotes

I've collected quite a list of quotes on writing through the years. Here's a sampling:


Beginnings and Endings
--"Beginnings and endings remain with the reader long after the story is gone. They are powerful, emotive signs cut into the storytelling trees. Pay attention to them. Work hard on them. Ignore them at your peril. Otherwise you will get lost in the woods of your writing and never find your way home." --Jane Yolen, Take Joy, A Writer's Guide to Loving the Craft
--"When I finish the book, I take the first chapter and, without rereading it, throw it away. Then I write the first chapter last, now that I know how the story ends. It means I write the first chapter with confidence because the first chapter is the last chapter in disguise." --Richard Peck
--"Somewhere in the opening of the novel the writer should include a suggestion of the conclusion. Readers will not recognize the 'end-in-the-beginning.' How can they? But when they reach the novel's conclusion--no matter how many side journeys you have led them along--they will feel a sense of completion to the novel." --Leonard Bishop, Dare to Be a Great Writer, 329 Keys to Powerful Fiction
--"If you do not know the conclusion of the novel, begin writing anyway. When you reach the end you can include some of it in the beginning by rewriting. The end is always there, but it all starts from the beginning.--Leonard Bishop, Dare to Be a Great Writer
On Books
--"A good book on your shelf is a friend that that turns its back on you and remains a friend."--Author Unknown
--"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island."--Walt Disney
--"Books are delightful society. If you go into a room and find it full of books--even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome. They seem to tell you that they have got something inside their covers that will be good for you, and that they are willing and desirous to impart to you. Value them much."--William Ewart Gladstone
--"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend."--Paul Sweeney
--"Books may be the only true magic."--Alice Hoffman
On Characters
--"I've always sort of believed that these people inside me--these characters--know who they are and what they're about and what happens, and they need me to help get it down on paper because they don't type."--Anne Lamott
--"My characters write my stories for me. They tell me what they want, then I tell them to get to it, and I follow  as they run. Working at my typing as they rush to their destiny."--Ray Bradbury
--"To imagine yourself inside another person...is what a story writer does in every piece of work; it is his first step, and his last too, I suppose."--Eudora Welty
Children
--"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million."--Walt Streightiff
--"When you have a child, your previous life seems like someone else's. It's like living in a house and suddenly finding a room you didn't know was there, full of treasure and light."--Carol Ann Duffy
--"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."--Emilie Buchwald
On the Craft of Writing
--"Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain." --Elie Wiesel
--"Writing simply means no dependent clauses, no dangling things, no flashbacks, and keeping the subject near the predicate. We throw in as many fresh words we can get away with. Simple, short sentences don't always work. You have to do tricks with pacing, alternate long sentences with short, to keep it vital and alive...Virtually every page is a cliffhanger--you've got to force them to turn it." --Dr. Seuss
On Creativity
--"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."--Pablo Picasso
--"Moving around is good for creativity: the next line of dialogue that you desperately need may  be waiting in the back of the refrigerator or half a mile along your favorite walk."--Will Shetterly
--"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."--Scott Adams
On Description
--"Seeing is a gift that comes with practice."--Stephanie Mils
--"Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house. Slowly you see more details--the color of the slates and bricks, the shape of the windows."--Benjamin Britten
--When you are describing
A shape or a tint;
Don't state the matter plainly
But put it in a hint;And learn to look at all things
With a sort of mental squint.--Lewis Carroll
On Discovery and Exploration
--"We don't write what we know. We write about what we wonder about."--Richard Peck
--"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and you learn as you go."--E.L. Doctorow
--"You always find things you didn't know you were going to say, and that is the adventure of writing."--John Updike
--"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places."--Roald Dahl
On Getting Started
--"All right. We're on the diving board. The cold water lies tranquilly below. The blank piece of paper. Think of the first sentence. Type."--H.R.F. Keating
--"Just get it down on paper, and then we'll see what to do with it."--Maxwell Perkins
Historical Fiction
--"And so it is that historical fiction writers build on facts and take the leap of imagination."--Ann Rinaldi
--"People tend to forget the word 'history' contains the word 'story.'"--Ken Burns
--"Historical fiction is not only a respectable literary form, it is a standing reminder of the fact that history is about human beings."--Helen M. Cam
--"Historical fiction, when it is done right, when its facts are compellingly used, will take the reader into the story of real people. For all people are real if they are honestly imagined, whether in the now or in the long ago."--Caro Clarke
Holding a Reader's Interest
--"If you want to hold your readers, give them something to worry about."--Ayn Rand
--"Whether it is fiction or nonfiction, if it's of book length be sue that its motor is running in the first three pages. The first three paragraphs would be even better. By 'motor running,' I mean piquing the reader's curiosity abut what comes next so that he won't want to put the book down."--Sol Stein
Humor
--"I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done."--Steven Wright
--"Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms were they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing."--Meg Chittenden
--"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."--William Somerset Maugham
--"Being a writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet."--Anonymous
On Imagination
--"Write. The physical act itself will free the imagination."--Steven Taylor Goldsberry
--"Imagination needs noodling--long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling, and puttering."--Brenda Useland
--"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited."--Albert Einstein
--"Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun."--George Scialabba

2 comments:

  1. I absolutely love these quotes. :)

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  2. Thanks, Linda--glad you enjoyed. Thanks for stopping by :-)

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