It’s been a while since I posted any writing quotes, which is reflective of how I’ve been procrastinating on finishing A Bull by the Horns, too. So I thought these quotes seem particularly appropriate today:
Nine out of ten writers, I am sure, could write more. I think they should and, if they did, they would find their work improving even beyond their own, their agent’s, and their editor’s highest hopes.
English crime and science fiction writer
With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and a definite hardening of the paragraphs.
American cartoonist, author, journalist, playwright
I went for years without finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
American author and teacher
I love reading mysteries almost as much as I love writing them. But the process of creating a believable and surprising mystery novel is often as shifty and elusive as the criminal your protagonist is trying to reveal. Here’s what some famous authors found out about the subject:
At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution, once revealed, must seem to be inevitable.
American novelist and screenwriter
The mystery story is two stories in one: the story of what happened and the story of what appeared to happen.
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Often called the American Agatha Christie
There certainly does seem a possibility that the detective story will come to an end, simply because the public will have learnt all the tricks.
English crime writer, poet, playwright, and essayist
I hope not, Dorothy, I hope not!
I am so disappointed that I am not yet finished with my mystery novel A Bull By The Horns. I fully intended to have it published by now, but with a snag I’ve come up against in the plot, there is a good chance I won’t even have it finished until early 2015. At least I have the comfort of knowing that I’m not the only writer who’s ever had to slog through the hard parts of this “job” that I love.
“Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever come out as you first hoped.”
American dramatist and screenwriter
“When I stepped from hard manual work to writing, I just stepped from one kind of hard work to another.”
Irish dramatist and memoirist.
Why do I write? Almost all writers will say they write because they have to. But how do I choose which stories to write about? I found two quotes that answers that for me.
“My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.”
John D. MacDonald
American novelist known for his thrillers
“Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.”
American Modernist poet known for her irony and wit.
Which philosophy do you ascribe to?
A best-seller is the gilded tomb of a mediocre talent.
Logan Pearsall Smith
Sir, no man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
Surely all authors must do this, right? I know I do. Otherwise, where would be the joy in doing it?
“I write what I would like to read–what I think other women would like to read. If what I write makes a woman in the Canadian Mountains cry and she writes and tells me about it, especially if she says, “I read it to Tom when he came in from work and he cried, too,” I feel I have succeeded.”
Kathleen Norris, on the publication of her 78th book
Yes, I twaddled quite a bit when I first started writing, and still do the same today sometimes. But better to twaddle than not to twaddle at all.
Looking back, I imagine I was always writing. Twaddle it was, too. But better far to write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.
Modernist writer Katherine Mansfield 1888 – 1923
Hopefully Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was simply being satirical below. If not, I believe he is entirely wrong. You can change people’s perspectives by what you write, if you do it right.
A book is a mirror; if an ass peers into it, you can’t expect an apostle to peer out.
Scientist and satirist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 1742-1799
While I’m not sure I entirely agree with Maxwell Perkins, there are times when I do.
There is nothing so important as the book can be.
Maxwell Perkins, editor for Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wolfe 1884 – 1947
Sherlock Holmes may only be a figment of Arthur Conan Doyle’s imagination, but he plugged into reality with the statement below. Which really good books of your very own did your writing life start with? I collected the Hardy Boys and Bobbsey Twins series as a child, which is when I started writing. I’m sure there were more books before then, but my best early memories are of my mom making up her very own stories for me at bedtime.
One story in particular sticks out. It was about a poodle that somehow got lost and the scene that lingers is the one where the poor dog had to pee and was embarassed at having to hide behind a bush to do so. Hmm, I wonder if that’s why I had a shy bladder all through grade school?
It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.
Sherlock Holmes, 1887 to infinity and beyond