Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quoth the Writer

I thought it might be a good day for a quote collection. Here's what a couple of writers have to say--about (mostly) writing, naturally.

Richard Peck:
  • Writing is the art of listening.
  • All fiction is a search for family.
  • All American stories are about journey and change.
  • When adult authority fails, kids will set up a peer over themselves.
  • The only way you can write is in the light of the burning bridges behind you.
  • You learn the most from the experience you would have avoided if you could.
  • Nobody ever grows up in a group.
  • Every character you create has a lesson to teach you.
  • I am a writer because I did not come from a child-centered home.
  • Anybody who thinks a small town is friendly lives in a big city.
  • The first chapter is the last chapter in disguise.
John Gardner:
  • All writing requires at least some measure of trancelike state.
  • Good grades in English may or may not go with verbal sensitivity, that is, with the writer's gift for, and interest in, understanding how language works.
  • ...every good writer knows that getting down one's exact meaning helps one to discover what one means.
  • The unpromising writer sees derivatively.
  • The beginning novelist who has the gift for inhabiting other lives has perhaps the best chance for success.
  • If he takes enough English literature courses, the young would-be writer can learn to block every true instinct he has.
  • The true novelist must be at once driven and indifferent.
  • Born writers [are] people who value other human activities but have no wish to do anything but write. 
  • The true young novelist has the stamina, patience, and single-mindedness of a draft horse.
  • What keeps the young writer with the potential for success from turning aside to some more generally approved, perhaps easier path is the writing community.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

11 comments:

Christine Sarmel said...

Great quotes. The one about small towns made me laugh out loud... so true!

Vijaya said...

Great quotes. I mostly agree. Sad that RP didn't come from a child-centric family. I am so grateful that my mom put us first. Lots of love and laughter in our one room/one kitchen house.

Marcia said...

Christine -- I think that's one of the funniest ones, too, and having grown up in a town of 10,000 that dubs itself "the friendly city," I laughed when he said it.

Vijaya -- He was saying this with approval, not regret. I hung on RP's every word when he spoke, as did the whole audience, not only because he's just very quotable but because he's a surprising fellow.

Angela Ackerman said...

I came across one the other day, but for the life of me I can't remember who said it:

Write today. Right tomorrow.

I love that! A great butt-in-chair quote!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Andrea Mack said...

I like the one: Every character you create has a lesson to teach you. I feel like I do learn so much from each novel, both about myself and about writing.

Marcia said...

Angela -- Wow, that's such a concise way of saying it's what we do TODAY that takes us where we want to go.
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WHOA. Is Blogger still having issues? Because these were NOT the first two comments this post got. ?????? Hope things get fixed soon.
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Andrea -- I like that, too, because I'm not sure how often we really think of our characters teaching us. But it stands to reason they bring up from inside us things we need to realize.

Laura Pauling said...

Great quotes. I love going into a small nap or trance like state in order to let my brain go. It doesn't always solve my plot problems but I think it helps.

Kim Kasch said...

Love this one: Anybody who thinks a small town is friendly lives in a big city.

Thanks for sharing these. They are fun.

Marcia said...

Laura -- I agree. That "twilight" state just before sleep can be really productive, I think.

Kim -- I grew up in a small town that dubs itself "the friendly city." But it was a lot friendlier if you were from way back, which we weren't. :)

MaryWitzl said...

I liked the quote about small towns too. I live in one myself, so I know just how true it is. And I definitely believe that writers and draft horses have some strong similarities.

morgan said...

Great quotes. I'd like to add one from Stephen King: "I believe the road to Hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops."
I laughed out loud the first time I read it, but when I was revising my first novel, I was amazed at how many unnecssary adverbs I was using and how much stronger the writing got as my pencil hacked away at them.