Sunday, January 25, 2009

Writers on writing.

I nicked this from Fidra Blog, which was in turn linked to the blog of successful Scottish author Nicola Morgan. Nicola has lots of useful and interesting things to say about bookworld - including advice on how to find a publisher. She also offers these favourite quotes from writers on writing:

*A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. (Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades, 1947.)

*It was fifteen years before I realised I was no good as a writer, but by then I was too famous to stop. (Robert Benchley.)

*Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. (George Orwell, "Why I Write," 1947.)

*Every writer I know has trouble writing. (Joseph Heller.)

*Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out. (Samuel Johnson, "Recalling the Advice of a College Tutor," Boswell, Life of Johnson, 1791.)

*Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially. (A. Bronson Alcott.)

*It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write. (Sinclair Lewis.)

*Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. (From the film Finding Forrester.)

*A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order. Jean Luc Godard

*Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason. They made no such demand upon those who wrote them. (Charles Caleb Colton.)

*As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out. (Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894.)

*A good style should show no signs of effort. What is written should seem a happy accident. (W. Somerset Maugham, Summing Up, 1938.)

*You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke. (Arthur Polotnik.)

*The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes. (Agatha Christie.)

*When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. (Enrique Jardiel Poncela.)

*Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. (Flannery O'Connor.)

*Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. (Gene Fowler.)

*Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. (Anton Chekhov.)

*I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. (James Michener.)

*I try to leave out the parts that people skip. (Elmore Leonard.)

*There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. (Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith.)

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