Quotes for writers : miscellaneous

Miscellaneous and addenda

These are late additions to be sorted later and a selection of other quotes I liked but couldn’t quite fit into the categories of the five main pages.

“The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or to say a new thing in an old way.”
~ Richard Harding Davis

“…All artists’ work is autobiographical. Any writer’s work is a map of their psyche. You can really see what their concerns are, what their obsessions are, and what interests them.”
~ Kim Addonizio

“The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis.”
~ William Styron

“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.”
~ Willa Cather

“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”
~ Stephen King, On Writing

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
~ Lloyd Alexander

“I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.”
~ Beryl Pfizer

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
~ Mark Twain

“There are times when quantity is at least as important as quality in learning an art.”
~ Lawrence Watt-Evans

“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“Art is not a handicraft. It is the transmission of a feeling which the artist has experienced.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense.”
~ Tom Clancy

“If you can’t play all the instruments in the orchestra of story, no matter what music may be in your imagination, you’re condemned to hum the same old tune.”
~ Robert McKee

“Half of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.”
~ David Gerrold

“The essence of drama is that man cannot walk away from the consequences of his own deeds.”
~ Harold Hayes

“The task of a writer consists in being able to make something out of an idea.”
~ Thomas Mann

“The reader has certain rights. He bought your story. Think of this as an implicit contract. He’s entitled to be entertained, instructed, amused; maybe all three. If he quits in the middle, or puts the book down feeling his time has been wasted, you’re in violation.”
~ Larry Niven

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”
~ Ursula K. Le Guin

“To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.”
~ Anatole France

“Good writing comes from good thinking.”
~ Ann Loring

“Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.”
~ unknown

“Some people dream of worthy accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.”
~ unknown

“Find the key emotion; this may be all you need know to find your short story.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I never cease to be amazed at the huge number of folks who have valuable information between their ears, who don’t consider packaging and selling it.”
~ Russ von Hoelscher

“Colours fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure.”
~ Edward Thorndike

“The first chapter sells the book. The last chapter sells the next book.”
~ Mickey Spillane

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

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

“There is no such thing as fiction. It’s either all happened before or will happen in the future. If not on our world, then on another. If not in our reality, then in another.”
~ Mark Morrow

“Fiction, imaginative work that is, is not dropped like a pebble upon the ground, as science may be; fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.”
~ Virginia Woolf

“It’s a kind of zen question: if you write a book and no one reads it, is it really a book?”
~ Lee Child

“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

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book.”
~ Cicero, circa 43 BC

“I never think at all when I write, nobody can do two things at the same time and do them both well.”
~ Don Marquis, Archy’s Life of Mehitabel, 1933



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