Thursday, August 12, 2010

GREAT QUOTES ON WRITING

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard


When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela


I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener


The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~ Michael Crichton


The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. ~Mark Twain


The wastebasket is a writer's best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer


Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov


Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne


Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money. ~ J.P. Donleavy


My first draft is not even recognizable by the time I get to the last draft. I change everything. I consider myself at Square Zero when I finish the first draft. It’s almost like I use that draft to think through my plot. My hard copy of each draft will be dripping with ink by the time I finish, and I’ll do that several times. ~ Terri Blackstock


Writing is Rewriting.


Amateurs fall in love with every word they write. ~ William Bernhardt


Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown


Keep working. Don’t wait for inspiration. Work inspires inspiration. Keep working. ~ Michael Crichton


I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. ~ Richard Bach

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. ~ Gloria Steinem

I always do the first line well, but I have trouble doing the others. ~ Moliere

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. - Jack London

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~ Walter "Red" Smith

When asked, "How do you write?" I invariably answer, "One word at a time." ~ Stephen King

When you sell a man a book, you don't sell him 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue; you sell him a whole new life. ~ Emerson

Manuscript: something submitted in haste and returned at leisure. ~ Oliver Herford

I write fiction because it's a way of making statements I can disown. ~ Tom Stoppard

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~ Ray Bradbury

When I stop, the rest of the day is posthumous. I'm only really alive when I'm writing.~ Tennessee Williams

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon. ~ E.L. Doctorow

Writing a book is an adventure: it begins as an amusement, then it becomes a mistress, then a master and finally a tyrant. ~Winston Churchill


Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne


For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle. ~John Cheever


Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"


Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler


Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~Joseph Heller


If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. ~ Stephen King


Writing comes more easily if you have something to say. ~Sholem Asch


All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by persons who move their lips when they're reading to themselves. ~Don Marquis


There are men that will make you books, and turn them loose into the world, with as much dispatch as they would do a dish of fritters. ~Miguel de Cervantes


A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. ~Henry David Thoreau


You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke. ~Arthur Polotnik


If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. ~ Stephen King


Pen names are masks that allow us to unmask ourselves. ~C. Astrid Weber


A good style should show no signs of effort. What is written should seem a happy accident. ~W. Somerset Maugham, Summing Up, 1938


There is no way of writing well and also of writing easily. ~ Anthony Trollope


If I'm trying to sleep, the ideas won't stop. If I'm trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. ~Carrie Latet


Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason. They made no such demand upon those who wrote them. ~Charles Caleb Colton


How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. ~Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 19 August 1851


Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. ~From the movie Finding Forrester


An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere. ~Gustave Flaubert


The scariest moment is always just before you start. ~ Stephen King (On Writing)


No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published. ~Russell Lynes


A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order. ~Jean Luc Godard


Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially. ~A. Bronson Alcott


Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. ~Colette


I keep little notepads all over the place to write down ideas as soon as they strike, but the ones that fill up the quickest are always the ones at my nightstand. ~Terri Guillemets


A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. ~ G.K. Chesterton


Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s. ~ Stephen King (On Writing)


No man should ever publish a book until he has first read it to a woman. ~Van Wyck Brooks


The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it. ~Ernest Hemingway


The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new. ~Samuel Johnson


The best style is the style you don't notice. ~Somerset Maugham


The road to hell is paved with adverbs. ~ Stephen King, On Writing


I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody's head. ~John Updike


Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible. ~Leo Tolstoy


Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed. ~ Ray Bradbury


I don't think it is possible to give tips for finding one's voice; it's one of those things for which there aren't really any tricks or shortcuts, or even any advice that necessarily translates from writer to writer. All I can tell you is to write as much as possible. ~ Poppy Z. Brite


Good books don't give up all their secrets at once. ~ Stephen King


Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

7 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great listing of quotes. Through a great deal of them you can see a common thread.

    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for checking in here, Helen. Loved your article on Blood-Red Pencil!

    ...yes, a common thread I see is along the lines of "Writing is rewriting." (haven't yet found who said that first) So many inexperienced writers seem to need encouragement to revise their work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A great and thought-provoking collection, Jodie.
    I especially like the Arthur Polotnik quote: You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.

    I'm glad I can call on you to be my editor and to dissipate the smoke therein.
    Della Barrett.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comment, Della. And I really enjoy editing your great short stories!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great list of quotes about writing Jodie. Only a good librarian could have found so many and such practical ones too. Thanks for sharing! I wish you'd been the teacher librarian at my high school when I was teaching The Writer's Craft! Those quotes would have been great class discussion starters!
    Gail

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for your kind words, Gail. Glad you found these quotes useful!

    Jodie

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's an awesome list. By far my favourite is,
    'Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.'

    The quote about rereading to spot missing words was also pretty funny but also a good lesson to for writers :P

    ReplyDelete

There was an error in this gadget