Quotes


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All human beings have an innate need to hear and tell stories and to have a story to live by ... religion, whatever else it has done, has provided one of the main ways of meeting this abiding need.

The Seduction of the Spirit, 1973
Harvey Cox
All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.Bobby Knight (1940 - )
All stories teach us something, and promise us something,
whether they're true or invented, legend or fact.
Stewart O'Nan
Almost everyone can remember losing his or her virginity, and most writers can remember the first book he/she put down thinking: I can do better than this. Hell, I *am* doing better than this!
Stephen King
Always grab the reader by the throat in the first paragraph, sink your thumbs into his windpipe in the second, and hold him against the wall until the tag line.Paul O'Neil
An absolutely necessary part of a writer's equipment, almost as necessary as talent, is the ability to stand up under punishment, both the punishment the world hands out and the punishment he inflicts upon himself.
Irwin Shaw
An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations. Charles de Montesquieu
An author must learn the principles of good storytelling only in order to write better from the heart.Uri Shulevitz
An author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.
Benjamin Disraeli
An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.de Chateaubriand
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.Sylvia Plath
And it does no harm to repeat, as often as you can, 'Without me the literary industry would not exist: the publishers, the agents, the sub-agents, the sub-sub-agents, the accountants, the libel lawyers, the departments of literature, the professors, the theses, the books of criticism, the reviewers, the book pages- all this vast and proliferating edifice is because of this small, patronized, put-down and underpaid person.Doris Lessing
Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.
Ray Bradbury
Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.
James Baldwin
Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.Frank Zappa
Artists don't talk about art.
Artists talk about work.
If I have anything to say to young writers,
it's stop thinking of writing as art.
Think of it as work
Paddy Chayefsky
As a writer, I play with words all day long. I toy with them, listen for their overtones, crack them open, and try to stuff my thoughts inside.Philip Yancey
As a younger man I wrote for eight years without ever earning a nickel which is a long apprenticeship, but in that time I learned a lot about my trade.James Michener
As cows need milking and sweet peas need picking, so writers must continually exercise their mental muscles by a daily stint.Joan Aiken
As difficult as it is for a writer to find a publisher--admittedly a daunting task--it is twice as difficult for a publisher to sort through the chaff, select the wheat, and profitably publish a worthy list.
Olivia Goldsmith
As I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time are those who have given me something to say.Katherine Paterson
Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics
is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs
Christopher Hampton
Asking a writer what he thinks about criticism is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs.
John Osborne
At first they'll reject everything, particularly in your case. What you do is keep sending the same poems to the same people--after a decent interval, of course. After about the fourth or fifth time, they will actually have read them, and they will hear a little bell ring that they'll call the shock of recognition, and they'll take one.
Richard Palmer Blackmuir
At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution, once revealed, must seem to be inevitable.Raymond Chandler (1888 - 1959)
Author: A fool, who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on tormenting the generations to come.Montesquieu
Be a scribe! Your body will be sleek, your hand will be soft. You
are one who sits grandly in your house; your servants answer speedily; beer is poured copiously; all who see you rejoice in good cheer. Happy is the heart of him who writes; he is young each day.
Ptahhotep, 4500 BC
Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and
original in your work.
Gustave Flaubert
Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning.
Hesiod
Beginning writers must appreciate the prerequisites if they hope to become writers.  You pay your dues- which takes years.Alex Haley
Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet.Anonymous
Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.Lawrence Kasdan
Being creative is head-pounding, nail-biting, hard work no matter what your profession. So bottom line—ya gotta find the humor in it or you'll die like a rat on the road. Richard Krzemien
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. Cyril Connolly
Biography is the only true history.Thomas Carlyle
Biography lends to death a new terrorOscar Wilde
Books aren't written- they're rewritten.  Including your own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.Michael Crichton
By writing much, one learns to write well.Robert Southey
Close the door. Write with - no one - looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.Barbara Kingsolver
Confronted by an absolutely infuriating review it is sometimes helpful for the victim to do a little personal research on the critic. Is there any truth to the rumor that he had no formal education beyond the age of eleven? In any event, is he able to construct a simple English sentence? Do his participles dangle? When moved to lyricism does he write 'I had a fun time'? Was he ever arrested for burglary? I don't know that you will prove anything this way, but it is perfectly harmless and quite soothing.Jean Kerr
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.Mary Anne Radmacher
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.Scott Adams
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his rootsFrank A. Clark
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots. Frank A. Clark
Critics are by no means the end of the law. Do not think all is over with you because you articles are rejected. It may be that the editor has his drawer full, or that he does not know enough to appreciate you, or you have not gained a reputation, or he is not in a mood to be pleased. A critic's judgment is like that of any intelligent person. If he has experience, he is capable of judging whether a book will sell. That is all.

junior editor, Harper's Bazaar, 1866
Lavina Goodell
Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they are unable to do it themselves.Brendan Francis
Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke. F. Scott Fitzgerald
Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book, If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for.Alice Walker
Don't get it right; just get it written.James Thurber
Don't hope more than you're willing to work.Rita Mae Brown
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