1. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The Great Writers' Quote Thread

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by EdFromNY, Apr 28, 2014.

    This is really @minstrel's idea, but I thought it would be a good one. We all have quotes from writers that inspire us, instruct us, guide us, warn us. Give us your best ones (attributed, please).

    I will start with one of my favorites. The source will not surprise friends of mine on the forum:

    "I'm not a very good writer; however, I am an excellent re-writer." - James A. Michener

    And this, a personal comment made to me by a newer writer:

    "Go the traditional publishing route. It's difficult, but if you're good enough, you'll succeed. Just make sure your manuscript is absolutely perfect before you begin. Not very good. Perfect." - Rachel Simon
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    " I don’t believe that less is more. I believe that more is more. I believe that less is less, fat fat, thin thin and enough is enough."
    - Stanley Elkin

    "Caress the detail, the divine detail" - Vladimir Nabokov
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    A writer needs his poisons. The antidote to his poisons is often a book.

    - Philip Roth
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    “Advice to young writers who want to get ahead without any annoying delays: don’t write about Man, write about a man.” ― E.B. White

    “Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.” ― Joyce Carol Oates

    "Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.” – Terry Pratchett

    “I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art.” —Andre Dubus III, WD
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I forgot one of my faves -
    “Oftentimes an originator of new language forms is called ‘pretentious’ by jealous talents. But it ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.” - Jack Kerouc.
     
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  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When I write I don't think of the audience. After the fact I think, "Well there. I hope they like it."

    - William Gaddis
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Jan, that applies far beyond the field of writing. Once, while I was sitting in a hospital waiting room with my son (he was 7 at the time), two cartoon characters on television expressed it this way:

    "Good judgment comes from experience."
    "Yeah, but experience comes from bad judgment."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2014
  9. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
    -Edgar Allan Poe


    I posted this one in another quote thread and it was actually written by a screen writer, but I think it still applies and I love it, so here it is:
    “We step from one piece of holy ground to the next, under stars that ask: ‘Imagine for one second you could drop in on a past life. What would charm you, make you proud?’ Ask yourself that, and the question of what to do in this life becomes so simple it’s terrifying.”
    -Alex Ventoux


    Musashi wasn't known as a writer, but he was known for being a writer, painter, warrior etc, and this, too, applies very well to writing, methinks:
    “It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way.”
    -Miyamoto Musashi


    “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”
    -William Blake


    This too, comes from a screen writer:
    “You know what inspiration is? A momentary cessation of stupidity.”
    -Jonas Blane


    “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
    -Toni Morrison


    I saw this here, someone had it as their signature, I think (sorry, can't remember who):
    “You hold a pen in your hand. Start writing about a tomorrow that no one else can.”
    -Tomohisa Yamashita
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This one is almost lewd in its deliciousness. I love it. :)
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    "The hardest trade in the world is writing straight, honest prose about human beings." - Ernest Hemingway
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I presented my editor with Legs, which was then about one hundred pages. He bought it. Then it took me six years to finish it. I wrote it eight times and seven times it was no good. Six times it was especially no good. The seventh time out it was pretty good, though it was way too long. My son was six years old and so was my novel and they were both the same height. I was wounded many times in the writing of that novel.

    - William Kennedy
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I love this - it's so blatantly self-serving!

    My definition of a good editor is a man I think charming, who sends me large checks, praises my work, my physical beauty, and my sexual prowess, and who has a stranglehold on the publisher and the bank.

    - John Cheever
     
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  14. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have grown fond of semicolons in recent years. The semicolon tells you that there is still some question about the preceding full sentence; something needs to be added; it reminds you sometimes of the Greek usage. It is almost always a greater pleasure to come across a semicolon than a period. The period tells you that that is that; if you didn't get all the meaning you wanted or expected, anyway you got all the writer intended to parcel out and now you have to move along. But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little feeling of expectancy; there is more to come; to read on; it will get clearer.

    - Lewis Thomas
     
  16. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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  17. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

    ― W. Somerset Maugham
     
  18. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "We write frankly and fearlessly but then we "modify" before we print."

    -Mark Twain
     
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  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The last thing one knows about writing a book is what to put first.

    - Blaise Pascal
     
  20. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    “So okay― there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You've blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want.”

    -Stephen King
     
  21. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself."

    -Anne Rice
     
  22. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    When men ask me how I know so much about men, they get a simple answer: everything I know about men, I learned from me. - Anton Chekhov
     
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  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    The quote in my sig came from Homer Hickam, the guy who wrote Rocket Boys. I met him at a convention once years ago.

    "As long as you have the dream, as long as you persevere, nothing can stop you." - Homer Hickam.
     
  24. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
    - Gustave Flaubert

    Neither Christ nor Buddha nor Socrates wrote a book, for to do that is to exchange life for a logical process.
    - W. B. Yeats
     
  25. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That is so true, so often. You don't always know where you're going, till you get there.
     
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