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Writing Quotations, Part V December 11, 2016

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I received the happy news in time for Christmas that I sold another short story. I spent a stretch of months revising it, so this year, as my gift to you, I have collected together quotations about revising and improving your writing. I can really relate to the quotation from Gustave Flaubert. Enjoy!

“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.” ~ Lawrence Block

“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

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” ~ William Faulkner

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” ~ Stephen King

“The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between “lightning” and “lightning bug.” ~ Mark Twain

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

 

 

Quotes About Writing, Part IV November 30, 2015

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As a gift to my readers during the Christmas season, I typically share author quotes or quotes about writing. I collect these throughout the year for possible use in presentations or articles about writing. I find it handy to keep them in one spot. I was particularly gratified to find the Jack London quotation this year. I had heard it before but failed to take it down word-for-word at the time. I hope these quotes will serve you well, providing insight and inspiration for the new year.

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly–they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” — Aldous Huxley

“With educated people, I suppose, punctuation is a matter of style; with me, it is a matter of feeling. But I must say I have a great respect for the semicolon; it’s a useful little chap.” — Abraham Lincoln (attributed)

“Envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” — Ernest Hemingway

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” — Stephen King

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou

“The way we are living, timorous or bold, will have been our life.” — Seamus Heaney, poet

“Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.” — Jack London

Quotes About Writing, Part III December 6, 2014

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As a gift to other authors around Christmas, I like to print some of my favorite quotes about writing. This is the third grouping of quotes to make it on my blog. Enjoy!

“The fact is that almost everything that almost everyone has ever done to make money from the arts—including the old ways of making money from the arts—mostly didn’t work. We always look back on artistic incomes with what economists call survivor bias. We look at the people who succeeded and not the people who failed.” — Cory Doctorow

“What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” — Stephen King

“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” — Mary Heaton Vorse

“I think the difficult thing with learning how to write is not learning the style or rules, but figuring out what story you want to tell.” — Ransom Riggs

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” — Agatha Christie

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

“A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in not out.” — Virginia Woolf

“We’ve all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know that’s not true.” — Professor Robert Wilensky

“Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” — Flannery O’Connor

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest people of past centuries.” — Descartes

Writing Quotations, Part II December 5, 2013

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Last year around Christmastime, I shared with my readers some of my favorite quotations about writing. Readers seemed to enjoy this gift, so I’ve gathered here a fresh batch of quotations to inspire and instruct.

“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.” — Tennessee Williams

“To be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.” — William Shakespeare

“He who would write heroic poems should make his whole life a heroic poem.” — Thomas Carlyle

“There is creative reading as well as creative writing.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.” — Francis Bacon

Of all those arts in which the wise excel,
Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.

–Duke of Buckinghamshire Sheffield

“You write with ease to show your breeding, But easy writing’s curst hard reading.” — Richard Brinsley Sheridan

“To fall in love with a first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing.” — Richard North Patterson

 “Murder your darlings.” — Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

“I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — Blaise Pascal

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.
’T is not enough no harshness gives offence,—
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.

— Alexander Pope

“Writing is rewriting.” — Eudora Welty

“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” — Peter De Vries

“I do not like to write–I like to have written.” — Gloria Steinem

“Though an angel should write, still ’t is devils must print.” — Thomas Moore

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” — Robert Benchley

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernard Shaw

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” — Stephen King