Sunday, May 22, 2005

Quote Them

I can't find a couple of writer quotations that I want, and it's driving me nuts.

I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows. — Ernest Hemingway

This is pretty close to one I was hunting down; one that had a huge impact on me as a writer. The original went something like "The writer should always know a hell of a lot more about the character than the reader ever will."

Nobody wants to see the village of the happy people. — Lew Hunter

Except my mom. She wants me to move there. You can immediately imagine a screaming mob brandishing torches and pitchforks and rushing up the driveway to my happy cottage, right?

Character gives us qualities, but it is in actions — what we do — that we are happy or the reverse. ... All human happiness and misery take the form of action. — Aristotle

The guy's been dead 2,327 years, but his words still grab you by the throat and shake you until your teeth chatter.

Characters must not brood too long. They must not waste time running up and down ladders in their own insides. — E.M. Forster

How many writers do you want to send this one to?

Look if you like, but you will have to leap. — W.H. Auden

P.S., there's no net. I'm beginning to believe there will never be a net.

What's your favorite writer/about writers quotation?


  1. "It has never been, and never will be easy work! But the road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination."

    -- Marion Zimmer Bradley

    "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
    -- Les Brown

  2. My favorite is kind of an odd one, really, but reminds me that you just can't please everyone:

    "Another damned, thick, square, book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon?"

    William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, upon receiving the second volume of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from the author, 1781

  3. Anonymous12:43 AM

    "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."

    ~ Stephen King

  4. Anonymous1:23 AM

    "All glory comes from daring to begin."

    It's on a poster for GOALS and applies to more than writing, but it always gives me a kick in the pants when i need it.

  5. Anonymous2:20 AM

    Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.

    -Lawrence Clark Powell

  6. "The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'check enclosed.'”

    --Dorothy Parker

    "Language is a virus from outer space."

    --William Burroughs

    "And there is absolutely no evidence that i could write a good book. It might perfectly well be the most awful weasel vomit."

    --Brenda Ueland

    But what I have taped to the top of my computer monitor is this:

    "Everything is futile but you must do it anyway, because effort is full victory."


  7. "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader"- Robert Frost

  8. Anonymous10:21 AM

    None of these are specifically by writers, but all have helped me with my writing. FM members will recognize these from my signature line on the forums.

    Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.-- Yoda

    Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just get up and go to work.--Chuck Close

    If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're right.--Henry Ford

  9. Anonymous10:29 AM

    Years ago, Writer's Digest published a list of fifty tips from famous writers. 49 people said 49 intelligent, useful, poetic things, but the 50th was the one I've never forgotten:

    Write something every day.
    -- Roger Zelazny

    :) Misty

  10. Anonymous10:54 AM

    I have a couple of favorites:

    Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain


    "When writing a novel that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.'
    - Neil Gaiman

    But I just found this one:

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

  11. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

    ~Richard Bach~

  12. Anonymous12:25 PM

    Three favorites:
    "Writing equals ass plus chair." Quentin Tarantino

    "It's only a book." Lawrence Block

    "If you're blocked, lower your sights." Lawrence Block

    Charlene Teglia

  13. Anonymous1:50 PM

    It is a cardinal sin to bore the reader." -Larry Niven

  14. A writer is someone who has more problems writing than other people. Thomas Mann

    After I had the chance to see some of his original notes and manuscript pages, I accepted my Internal Editor. There's still a chance to get a Nobel Prize despite that bugger sitting on my shoulder. LOL

  15. Anonymous4:52 AM

    Robert E Howard (1906-36) provided me with a manifesto in his poem "Musings"

    The little poets sing of little things:
    Hope, cheer, and faith, small queens and puppet kings;
    Lovers who kissed and then were made as one,
    And modest flowers waving in the sun.
    The mighty poets write in blood and tears
    And agony that, flame-like, bites and sears.
    They reach their mad blind hands into the night,
    To plumb abysses dead to human sight;
    To drag from gulfs where lunacy lies curled,
    Mad, monstrous nightmare shapes to blast the world.

  16. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Australian author Sara Henderson:
    "Don't wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel. Stride down there… and light the bloody thing yourself."

  17. My teeth hurt now...


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