Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Darling Daughter
One, PhD
Psychologists often speak of affirmations they suggest people place around their home and/or work space. (Darling Daughter 1 has a PhD in psychology, and has been known to remind me that my quotes are basically affirmations.) I collect succinct quotes about life in general and writing in particular. For me, these quotes, mostly by people whom I admire, are--I admit--affirmations to inspire me when I'm feeling in a deep purple funk (that's lower than the blues) and need encouragement. Here are some from writers on writing:

"All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer." Robert Louis Stevenson (Seems to me this would apply to writing and reading as well.)

Lightning or
ligtning bug?
"The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug." Mark Twain

Mel Brooks
"Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him." Mel Brooks

Rosamunde Pilcher
"Writing is work, but it's also a compulsion, and once you get your characters on paper, you can't abandon them. You have to respond to them." Rosamunde Pilcher

"People say, 'You're writing fiction. What do you do research for? Why don't you just make it up?' Well, in a work of fiction, even if it's a modern novel set in Washington, D.C., if you're going to mention the address of the White House, you'd better have that address right. Because if all the basic facts that you put down are as accurate as you can them, it aids readers in suspending their sense of disbelief." Jean M. Auel

"A good writer is basically a storyteller, not a scholar or a redeemer of mankind." Isaac Singer 1904-1991

Jack London

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Jack London 1896-1916

"What I like about a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers." Logan Pearsall Smith 1865-1946

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." Stephen King

"Books aren't written--they're rewritten." Michael Crichton

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

"There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it." Alfred Hitchcock

"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit." Richard Bach

"We are as much informed of a writer's genius by what he selects as by what he originates." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mark Twain
"Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." Mark Twain  AMEN!

When asked the difference between fiction and life, Tom Clancy remarked, "That's easy. Fiction has to make sense."

"Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder." Raymond Chandler

Emile Zola

"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work." Emile Zola

"Every scene should have at least one event, however small, that changes the course of the plot." Alicia Rasley

"Persuasive words are never brooded over and merely selected, they are torn from our guts." Unknown. (How true!)

Thanks for indulging my fondness for famous quotes. On Friday, Vincent Mooney will be my guest. Please return to read Vince's great post on writing. 



Anna Jeffrey said...

Love these quotes, Caroline. I, too, get hung up on quotes. And like you, the ones I'm drawn to are the ones that are about life and writing. In fact, as you know, I always throw 2 or 3 in my monthly newsletter.

Anna Jeffrey

Sandra Crowley said...

Hi Caroline, My favs are Mark Twain and Michael Crichton.

Thanks for sharing your inspirations.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Thanks, Caroline. I'll be coming back to read these again. Some of them I already have on my wall but others are fresh and enlightening.

Susan Macatee said...

Great quotes, Caroline! Thanks for sharing!