Archive for January, 2004

Walker on telling stories

I believe in the power of words: to enlighten, to educate, to entertain. It is through words that we give form to our deepest thoughts and dreams; we have been doing it for thousands of years in story and song.–Paul Robert Walker

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Mortimer on good writing

Nothing is more depressingly snobbish than the idea that good writing can’t be popular; but high sales are not necessarily a proof of literary excellence. –John Mortimer, The New York Times Book Review

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Isaacs on the act of writing

Writing, like making soup or making love, is an idiosyncratic act. There is no one right way to do it. . . –Susan Isaacs, The Writer

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Berger on a writer’s life

I never take a vacation because what would it be from? I became a novelist many years ago so that I might live in a continuum of make-believe in which there are no weekends, and, more importantly, no Monday mornings. –Thomas Berger, Book Week, Washington Post

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Mason on writers

A normal person grows up and puts some things behind them, but a writer is preoccupied with the past. –Bobbie Ann Mason, The Boston Globe

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Ozick on writers

A writer is someone born with a gift. An athlete can run. A painter can paint. A writer has a facility with words. A good writer can also think. –Cynthia Ozick, interview Writers at Work (8th series)

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P.D. James on story

All you need to do to write a ghost story is put a ghost in it. For a detective story you need a plot. –P.D. James (Book Notes, New York Times)

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Bradbury on writing

If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. . . For the first thing a writer should be is–excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. –Ray Bradbury (Zen in the Art of Writing)

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Roth on character

Beginning a book is unpleasant. I’m entirely uncertain about the character and the predicament, and a character in a predicament is what I want. –Philip Roth

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E. B. White on style

Every writer, by the way he uses language, reveals something of his spirit, his habits, his capacities, his bias. This is inevitable, as well as enjoyable. All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation–it is the Self escaping into the open. No writer long remains incognito. –E.B. White (E. B. White, The Elements […]

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