06 Apr 2012 3 Comments
I like to collect quotations, especially about writing. Here are a few of my favorites:
“Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.”
“Narrative is the human way of working through a chaotic and unforgiving world.”
“Always try to put the funniest word at the end of your sentence underpants.”
“Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.”
“What’s so hard about the first sentence is that you’re stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you’ve laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.”
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”
“Remember that writing is translation, and the opus to be translated is yourself.”
“It is not my intent as a writer necessarily to help young readers escape this world we live in so much as to show it as a place imbued with magical potential.”
“He was listening to what I like to call the wisdom of the novel. Every true novelist listens for that suprapersonal wisdom, which explains why great novels are always a little more intelligent than their authors. Novelists who are more intelligent than their books should go into another line of work.”
“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
E. L. Doctorow
“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”
“Writers are troublemakers. A psychotherapist tries to relieve stress, strain, and pressure. Writers are not psychotherapists. Their job is to give readers stress, strain, and pressure. The fact is that readers who hate those things in life love them in fiction”
“Start as close to the end as possible.”
“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned.”
“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
“Fiction writers are by their very nature, middle children—they are searchers, doubters, malcontents. They believe themselves somehow abandoned, uncoddled, unloved.”
John Gregory Brown
“When you catch an adjective, kill it.”
“Jewish humor uses crazy logic as a way of coping with the incomprehensible.”
“Writing is the mask and the unveiling.”
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
“This is not a book that should be tossed aside lightly. It should be hurled with great force.”
Do you have other favorites? Feel free to share them below.
03 Apr 2012 4 Comments
Who doesn’t hate to wait?
The facial expressions of people in post offices and waiting rooms across the globe tell the story. Waiting is hell.
From childhood onward we’re told to be patient. But as Ambrose Bierce succinctly put it, patience is “a minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.”
Many jobs and professions entail a good deal of waiting, but perhaps writers have it worst of all.
We query agents and editors, and then wait weeks or months to hear whether we can submit a manuscript. (These days, we may never hear back at all; an increasingly popular policy among these folks is to reply only to queries that interest them.)
If you’re lucky enough to receive an invitation to submit your work, entire seasons may come and go before a response arrives.
And if you’re fortunate enough to receive a contract from a publisher, you’re waiting has just begun; it can easily take two years before your book hits the marketplace.
Currently I’m waiting for an illustrator to complete the cover art for my novel, Crashing Eden. I’m also waiting to hear back from reviewers who have advance copies of the book.
The usual advice writers hear for dealing with this ongoing dilemma is to start work on your next project. Makes sense. Now I just have to wait for my damn muse to get in the mood…