Monday, December 15, 2008

Quentin Crisp

"There are three reasons for becoming a writer: the first is that you need the money; the second, that you have something to say that you think the world should know; the third is that you can’t think of what to do with the long winter evenings."

Monday, December 01, 2008

John Updike

"A narrative is like a room on whose walls a number of false doors have been painted; while within the narrative, we have many apparent choices of exit, but when the author leads us to one particular door, we know it is the right one because it opens.”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jodi Picoult

"Most people in America want an easy read. I call it McFiction - books which pass right through you without you even digesting them. I don't mean a book that has two-syllable words. I mean chapters you can read in a toilet break. Happy endings. We are more of a TV culture, and that is a hard thing to go up against for any writer."

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Richard Russo

"By ignoring a lot of American culture you can write more interesting stories. Unfortunately, if you were writing about America as it is, you'd be writing about a lot of people sitting in front of television sets."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ernest Hemingway.

"In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jeanette Winterson

"As a writer, you're always something of a vandal. You know, you're a tomb raider. You're gonna go in there and take the things that already exist - drag 'em out again, and dress them up differently. There is a sense in which, you know, you are a thief. You know, it's no wonder that writers are ruled by Mercury, god of thieves and liars, and Mercury of the double tongue. And so, there is the sense in which you will always steal, and take for yourself, the things that you need. But then you also bring them back into the light. You dust them down, and then you put them out again for people to find in a different way. I mean, the whole thing about myths, is that they need to stay fluid, they need to keep moving, and they need to be dynamic. And that's why we can go on retelling them, so that, what is valuable is passed on from generation to generation, across time, through cultures."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hallie Burnett

"Trollope said, 'On the last day of every month recorded, every person in a work of fiction should be a month older than on the first.' We go with our characters wherever they lead us, and as time makes its mark on us, so it must on them."

Monday, September 01, 2008

James J. Kirkpatrick

"Good writers do no litter their sentences with adverbial garbage. They do not hold up signs reading 'laughter!' or 'applause!' The content of dialogue ought to suggest the mood."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Logan Pearsall Smith

"Fine writers should split hairs together, and sit side by side, like friendly apes, to pick the fleas from each other’s prose."

Friday, August 01, 2008

Amy Hempel

"Are crop circles supernatural imprints, or the work of human hoaxers? In England, at least, folks have confessed to sneaking into fields to effect these transformations, but I was happier when they remained a mystery. I think writing is like swinging a scythe in the dark and finding in the morning, if you’re lucky and looking from the right angle, a mysterious, well-formed pattern has emerged."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stephen King

"How long you let the first draft of your book rest - sort of like bread dough between kneadings - is entirely up to you, but I think it should be a minimum of six weeks . If you've never done it before, you'll find reading your book over after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience. It's yours, you'll recognize it as yours, even be able to remember what tune was on the stereo when you wrote certain lines, and yet it will also be like reading the work of someone else, a soul-twin perhaps. That is the way it should be, the reason you waited. It's always easier to kill someone else's darlings than it is your own."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Edgar Allan Poe

"There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wallace Stegner

"How can anyone “teach” writing when he himself, as a writer, is never sure what he is doing?.... Nobody can teach the geography of the undiscovered. All he can do is encourage the will to explore, plus impress upon the un-experienced a few of the dos and don’ts of voyaging."

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Christina Baldwin

"Writing makes a map, and there is something about a journey that begs to have its passage marked. "

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vladimir Nabokov

"The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Somerset Maugham

"All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary - it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Carlos Fuentes

"One wants to tell a story, like Scheherazade, in order not to die. It’s one of the oldest urges of mankind. It’s a way of stalling death."

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Francois Mauriac

"Each of us is like a desert, and a literary work is like a cry from the desert, or like a pigeon let loose with a message in its claws, or like a bottle thrown into the sea. The point is: to be heard – even if by one single person."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Henry James

Henry James set forth the principles on which to create a mystery: “So long as the events are veiled the imagination will run riot and depict all sorts of horrors, but as soon as the veil is lifted, all mystery disappears and with it the sense of terror.”

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Kathleen Krull

"Respect the genre you’re writing in. In an effort to put your own stamp on it, don’t ignore the established conventions of that genre – or you’ll alienate your core audience of loyal buyers."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Maxine Kumin

"One way of ending the poem is to turn it back on itself, like a serpent with its tail in its mouth."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

John Gregory Dunne

"Although it is not necessary for a writer to be a prick, neither does it hurt. A writer is an eternal outsider, his nose pressed against whatever window on the other side of which he sees his material. Resentment sharpens his eye, hostility hones his killer instinct."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Vladimir Nabokov

"That trite little whimsy about characters getting out of hand; it is as old as the quills. My characters are galley slaves."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Norman Mailer

"I’d never dream of not reading reviews. It’s like not looking at a naked woman if she happens to be standing in front of her open window."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

John Irving

"I have a friend who says that reviewers are the tickbirds of the literary rhinoceros – but he is being kind. Tickbirds perform a valuable service to the rhino and the rhino hardly notices the tickbird."