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Even more quotes


Even more writers quotes

'As regards plot I find real life no help at all.  Real life seems to have no plots. And as I think a plot desirable and almost necessary, I have this extra grudge against life.'
Ivy Compton-Burnett

'If a publisher declines your manuscript, remember it is merely the decision of one fallible human being, and try another.'
Sir Stanley Unwin

'There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.'
Ursula K Le Guin

'We learn what poetry is - if we ever learn - by reading it.'
T S Eliot

'The profession of letters is, after all, the only one in which one can make no money without being ridiculous.'
Jules Renard

'From the moment I picked it up, until the moment I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.'
Groucho Marx

'i never think at all when i write nobody can do two things at the same time and do them both well.'
Don Marquis

'If publishers and authors don't worry about our language, it will be drained of moral content.'
Nick Webb, author of The Dictionary of Bullshit: Self-defence for English Speakers

‘Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper.  Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.’ 
John Steinbeck

'A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.'
John Milton

'An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last instalment missing.'
Quentin Crisp

'Some writers achieve great popularity and then disappear forever. The bestseller lists of the past fifty years are, with a few lively exceptions, a sombre graveyard of dead books.'
Carlos Fuentes

'There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money either.'
Robert Graves

'The book trade is a spiritual barometer of a nation's well-being.'
John Buchan

‘The wastepaper basket is the writer’s best friend.’
Isaac Singer

‘If they give me the bloody prize, why can't they say nice things about me?’
John Banville, on the BBC, the morning after unexpectedly winning the 2005 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

'While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.'
Cyril Connolly

‘If you want a definition of poetry, say: "Poetry is what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes me want to do this or that or nothing" and let it go at that.'
Dylan Thomas

'Show me a man or woman who cannot stand mysteries and I will show you a fool, a clever fool – perhaps – but a fool just the same.’
Raymond Chandler

'Truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction is truer.'
Frederic Raphael

‘Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.’
b>John Steinbeck

'Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.'
P J O'Rourke

‘God has a great sense of humour.  If I hadn’t got my book deal, I’d be living off £400 a month pension.’
G P Taylor, who has a 9-book deal with Faber

'No author is a man of genius to his publisher.'
Heinrich Heine

‘All fiction is largely autobiographical and much autobiography is, of course, fiction.’
P D James

'Well, great authors are great people, but I believe that they are best seen at a distance.'
Mrs Mitford

'The possession of a book becomes a substitute for reading it.'
Anthony Burgess

'The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof lie detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.'
Ernest Hemingway

'Not only should you not accept a prize.  You should not try to deserve one either.'
Jean Cocteau

'Writing is a strange synthesis between the two parts of your mind: the analytical side and the side that knows nothing at all, and you have to allow the dreaming side free rein.’
Rose Tremain

'Writing is just having a sheet of paper, a pen and not a shadow of an idea of what you are going to say.'
Francoise Sagan

'Of making of books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.'
Ecclesiastes 12:12

'Once a writer is born into a family, that family is doomed.’
Czselaw Milosz

'No publisher should ever express an opinion of the value of what he publishes.  That is a matter entirely for the literary critic to decide.'
Oscar Wilde

'Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.'
Henry David Thoreau

'The really heroic thing about Nick Hornby is that he lives in north London and rarely leaves it... Every English writer needs their corner that is forever England - but only a few brave men choose to make that corner Highbury.'
Zadie Smith, Time magazine

'Some of them say I've got an idealised vision of life... some of them say I use too many adjectives.  Well I just say, "My dears!  Why should I care? I've got something called readers."'
Barbara Taylor Bradford  in the Sunday Telegraph on her reviewers

'Madam, a circulating library in a town is an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge.'
Richard Brinsley Sheridan in The Rivals

'Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children, life is the other way round.'
David Lodge

'One of the ridiculous aspects of being a poet is the huge gulf between how seriously we take ourselves and how generally we are ignored by everybody else.'

Billy Collins in the New York Times

'There are three rules for writing the novel.  Unfortunately no one knows what they are.'
Somerset Maugham

'Being a writer in Hollywood is like going into Hitler's Eagle's Nest with a great idea for a Bar Mitzvah.'
David Mamet

'All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.'
F Scott Fitzgerald

'I don't believe in children's books.  I think after you've read Kidnapped, Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn, you're ready for anything.'
John Mortimer

'For those who can do it and who keep their nerve, writing for a living still beats most real, grown-up jobs hands down.’
Terence Blacker

'For nearly twenty years I have been a published author...  But I have never yet seen a book of mine offered for sale in a shop window.'
George Bernard Shaw in The Author

'First a mistress you dally and play with, then she becomes your master and finally your tyrant.'
Winston Churchill on writing a book

'A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.'
William Faulkner

'I'm a writer - if I stop writing, I'm nothing.'
Wilbur Smith

'A good style should show no sign of effort.  What is written should seem a happy accident.'
Somerset Maugham

'It is with books as with men - a very small number play a great part; the rest are lost in the multitude.'

'There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a type­writer and open a vein.'
b>Red Smith

'A translation is no translation unless it will give you the music of a poem along with the words of it.'
John Millington Synge


'Nature, not content with denying him the ability to think, has endowed him with the ability to write.'
A E Housman

'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print;/A book's a book, though there's nothing in it.'
Lord Byron

'In a very real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read...  It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.'
S A Hayakawa

'Poetry is not an assertion of truth, but the making of that truth more fully real to us.'
T S Eliot

'When one of our authors sells a million books, we think he's a genius. When a book sells 20 million copies, we think we're geniuses.'
Rupert Murdoch on The Purpose-Driven Life

'It would be no loss to the world if most of the writers now writing had been strangled at birth.'
Rebecca West (at the 1962 Edinburgh Festival Writers' conference)

'It's all very well to be able to write books, but can you waggle your ears?
J M Barrie to H G Wells

'Any fool can write a novel but it takes real genius to sell it.'
J G Ballard

'We live in an age that reads too much to be wise.'
Oscar Wilde

'If ... it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that it is poetry.'
Emily Dickinson

'Being a writer in Hollywood is like going into Hitler's Eagle's Nest with a great idea for a Bar Mitzvah.'
David Mamet

'When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God.  He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God’s business.’
Flannery O’Connor

'When you're writing, you're creating something out of nothing...  A successful piece of writing is like doing a successful piece of magic.'
Susanna Clarke, author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

'The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self activity.'
Thomas Carlyle

'The most crucial thing is to learn the craft: how to string sentences together, how to make your dialogue sound like real people, how to properly pace a story, how to develop interesting characters.’
Stephen Coonts

'Far better to write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.'  
Katherine Mansfield

‘Author are easy enough to get on with – if you are fond of children.’
Michael Joseph, British publisher

'Inspiration is the act of drawing up a chair to the writing desk.'

'Every time I read a Jane Austen novel, I feel like a bartender at the gates of heaven.'
Mark Twain

'Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, the make his life full, significant and interesting.'
Aldous Huxley

'What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.'
P D James

'My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.'
John D MacDonald

‘There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read.'
G K Chesterton

'The sole end of literature should be to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.'
Samuel Johnson

'A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.'
Italo Calvino

'From the moment I picked it up until the moment I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter.  Some day I intend reading it.'
Groucho Marx

'I have no earthly idea if this is a great book, but it's a pretty good

Bill Clinton, on his memoir

'No-one is going to sit down and read Bleak House to the family any more, but they can all huddle up happily in front of Charles Bronson.'
Martin Amis

'Psmith … is the only thing in my literary career which was handed to me on a plate with watercress round it, thus enabling me to avoid the blood, sweat and tears inseparable from an author’s life.
P G Wodehouse

'So are you still working, or just doing the books?'
An old friend to Jack Higgins

'The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before.'
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

'It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.'

'Every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient and sterile.'
Sinclair Lewis

'Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.'

'My line of work makes you aware of the fragility of life.  You can get up in the morning, eat your cornflakes, blow-dry your hair, go to work and end up dead.’
Kathy Reichs, crime writer

'Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand—a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods—or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.
Willa Cather

'The good thing about writing fiction is that you can get back at people.'
John Grisham

'Writing a first novel takes so much effort, with such little promise of result or reward, that it must necessarily be a labour of love bordering on madness.'
Steven Saylor

'Nothing gives an author so much pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors.'
Benjamin Franklin

'Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.'
Salman Rushdie

‘If I could read a book, I'd definitely read one of yours.'
Paris Hilton, currently selling her own book, to Jackie Collins.

‘You become a good writer just as you become a good joiner: by planing down your sentences.'
Anatole France

'It may be true that the real writer writes, but most people believe that a real writers is one who is published.’

'Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.'
Robert Frost

'A book is so much a part of oneself that in delivering it to the public one feels as if one were pushing one’s own child out into the traffic.’
Quentin Bell

 'The life of a writer is absolute hell compared to the life of a businessman.'
Roald Dahl

'Writing is more than anything a compulsion, like some people wash their hands thirty times a day for fear of awful consequences if they do not. It pays a whole lot better than this type of compulsion, but it is no more heroic.'
Julie Burchill

'I shall christen this style the Mandarin, since it is beloved by literary pundits.  It is the style of all the writers whose tendency is to make their language convey more than they mean to and more than they feel.  It is the style of most artists and all humbug.'
Cyril Connolly in Enemies of Promise

'Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.'
Iris Murdoch

'Every great and original writer, in proportion as he is great and original, must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished.'