Featured Quotes of the Day: Words of Advice
Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It's
the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a
writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.
Writing is a lot easier if you have something to say
I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are
going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book
Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we
see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I
were asked to name the most important items in a writer's make-up,
the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to
where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see
to his gusto.
If you have other things in your life - family, friends, good
productive day work - these can interact with your writing and the
sum will be all the richer.
Young writers shouldn't be afraid of striving to emulate their
favorites. It's a good way to learn, as long as you move on from it
and don't publish too many of the results.
Poppy Z. Brite
If you find yourself imitating another writer, that doesn't have to
be a bad thing, especially if you are a young or a new writer.
However, you should be conscious of exactly how you are imitating
him - word choice, sentence structure, motifs? - and think about why
you're doing it.
Poppy Z. Brite
Don't explain why it works; explain how you use it.
Be like a duck, my mother used to tell me. Remain calm on the surface
and paddle like hell underneath.
In writing a series of stories about the same characters, plan the
whole series in advance in some detail, to avoid contradictions and
L. Sprague de Camp
It only takes one person to change your life – you.
There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth
publishing, to find honest men to publish it - and to get sensible
men to read it.
Charles Caleb Cotton
When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his
I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best
advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.
G. K. Chesterton
Always make sure you are right and then - go for it.
Never throw up on an editor.
Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the
fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
If you start with a bang, you won't end with a whimper.
T. S. Eliot
Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The ideal view for daily writing, hour for hour, is the blank brick
wall of a cold-storage warehouse. Failing this, a stretch of sky will
do, cloudless if possible.
Expansion, that is the idea the novelist must cling to, not
completion, not rounding off, but opening out.
E. M. Forster
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write
things worth reading or do things worth writing.
Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and
tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules.
Not ones that matter.
You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street,
a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes
this one different.
All fiction is a process of imagining: whatever you write, in
whatever genre or medium, your task is to make things up convincingly
and interestingly and new.
Writing a novel is like heading out over the open sea in a small
boat. It helps, if you have a plan and a course laid out.
You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate
revulsion for your own work.
If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of
Put weather in.
My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She
said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and
worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being
praised by others, and that's nice, too, but not as important or
satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.
They're fancy talkers about themselves, writers. If I had to give
young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talk about
writing or themselves.
The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof
Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.
You have to have a lot of patience to learn patience.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
In order for you to be yourself, you have to be somebody first.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
The exit is usually where the entrance was.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things
familiar, and familiar things new.
Before you use a fancy word, make room for it.
Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in
There will never be another now -
I'll make the most of today.
There will never be another me -
I'll make the most of myself.
Don't take life so serious. It ain't no-hows permanent.
It's hard for me to believe that people who read very little - or not
at all in some cases - should presume to write and expect people to
like what they have written. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you
don't have time to read, you don't have the time - or the tools - to
write. Simple as that.
One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress
up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a
little bit ashamed of your short ones.
If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the
tools to write.
My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when
you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.
Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when
you mean 'very'. Otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to
talk about something really infinite.
C. S. Lewis
Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
If you think you're boring your audience, go slower not faster
For anyone who is: just keep writing. Keep reading. If you are meant
to be a writer, a storyteller, it'll work itself out. You just keep
feeding it your energy, and giving it that crucial chance to work
itself out. By reading and writing.
To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.
For all my longer works, for example novels, I write chapter outlines
so I can have the pleasure of departing from them later on.
One has to live a life that creates a writer.
We writers have this saying 'Kill your darlings'... but I suppose you
family men don't agree with it.
Make it new.
You only pass through this life once, you don't come back for an
Most beginning writers - and I was the same - are like chefs trying
to cook great dishes that they've never tasted themselves. How can
you make a great - or even an adequate - bouillabaisse if you've
never had any? If you don't really understand why people read
mysteries - or romances or literary novels or thrillers or whatever -
then there's no way in the world you're going to write one that
anyone wants to publish. This is the meaning of the well-known
expression "Write what you know."
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader
will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he
will certainly misunderstand them.
Resist the temptation to try to use dazzling style to conceal
weakness of substance.
To grow in craft is to increase the bredth of what I can do, but art
is the depth, the passion, the desire, the courage to be myself and
If you don't know it, don't write it.
Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.
There are no rules in writing. There are useful principles. Throw
them away when they're not useful. But always know what you're
Moving around is good for creativity: the next line of dialogue that
you desperately need may well be waiting in the back of the
refrigerator or half a mile along your favorite walk.
Stories have a beginning, a midlle and an end. But not necessarily in
The first chapter sells the book. The last chapter sells the next
When in doubt, blow something up.
J. Michael Straczynski
You are what you read.
If you really want to hurt your parents and you don't have nerve
enough to be homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts.
Books are never finished, They are merely abandoned.
If you think that something small cannot make a difference, try going
to sleep with a mosquito in the room.