Writer's Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 769 quotes )
Writers don't often say anything that readers don't already know, unless its a news story. A writer's greatest pleasure is revealing to people things they knew but did not know they knew. Or did not realize everyone else knew, too. This produces a warm sense of fellow feeling and is the best a writer can do.
Writer’s block is my unconscious mind telling me that something I’ve just written is either unbelievable or unimportant to me, and I solve it by going back and reinventing some part of what I’ve already written so that when I write it again, it is believable and interesting to me. Then I can go on. Writer’s block is never solved by forcing oneself to “write through it,” because you haven’t solved the problem that caused your unconscious mind to rebel against the story, so it still won’t work – for you or for the reader.
As a writer you slant all evidence in favor of the conclusions you want to produce and you rarely tilt in favor of the truth. ...This is what a writer does: his life is a maelstrom of lying. Embellishment is his focal point. This is what we do to please others. This is what we do in order to flee ourselves. A writer's physical life is basically one of stasis, and to combat this constraint, an opposite world and another self have to be constructed daily. ...the half world of a writer's life encourages pain and drama, and defeat is good for art: if it was day we made it night, if it was love we made it hate, serenity becomes chaos, kindness became viciousness, God became the devil, a daugher became a whore. I had been inordinately rewarded for participating in this process, and lying often leaked from my writing life--an enclosed sphere of consciousness, a place suspended outside of time, where the untruths flowed onto the whiteness of a blank screen--into the part of me that was tactile and alive.
As every writer knows... there is something mysterious about the writer's ability, on any given day, to write. When the juices are flowing, or the writer is 'hot', an invisible wall seems to fall away, and the writer moves easily and surely from one kind of reality to another... Every writer has experienced at least moments of this strange, magical state. Reading student fiction one can spot at once where the power turns on and where it turns off, where the writer writes from 'inspiration' or deep, flowing vision, and where he had to struggle along on mere intellect.
The whole point about vision is that it's very individual, it's very personal, and it has to be confessional. It has to be something which hurts - the pulling out of it and putting it on the page hurts. Art can be about the individual writer's response to his or her condition, and if that response comes out of a predigested belief about what the audience wants to hear about the writer's condition, then it has no truth, it has no validity. You either write with your own blood or nobody's. Otherwise it's just ink.
It's this way, see--when a writer first starts out, he gets a big kick from the stuff he does, and the reader doesn't get any; then, after a while, the writer gets a little kick and the reader gets a little kick; and finally, if the writer's any good, he doesn't get any kick at all and the reader gets everything.
It should surprise no one that the life of the writer—such as it is—is colorless to the point of sensory deprivation. Many writers do little else but sit in rooms recalling the real world. This explains why so many books describe the author’s childhood. A writer’s childhood may well have been the occasion of his only firsthand experience.
Meggie Folchart: Having writer's block? Maybe I can help. Fenoglio: Oh yes, that's right. You want to be a writer, don't you? Meggie Folchart: You say that as if it's a bad thing. Fenoglio: Oh no, it's just a lonely thing. Sometimes the world you create on the page seems more friendly and alive than the world you actually live in.
The scene is a writer's study, shabby, drafty but tax-deductible. The writer is reading the last hundred pages of his work in progress. For the past fifty or so, a kind of slow terror has been rising in his breast. All these pages had seemed necessary. They contain many good things. Ironies. Insights. And yet they seem to have a certain ineffable unsatisfactoriness. There is a word to describe this quality, the writer thinks, a horrible word. The B word. He begins to strike his forehead with a sweaty palm.
What is reading, in the last analysis, but an interchange of thought between writer and reader? If the book enters the reader's mind just as it left the writer's -- without any of the additions and modifications inevitably produced by contact with a new body of thought -- it has been read to no purpose.
Here's what I want from a book, what I demand, what I pray for when I take up a novel and begin to read the first sentence: I want everything and nothing less, the full measure of a writer's heart. I want a novel so poetic that I do not have to turn to the standby anthologies of poetry to satisfy that itch for music, for perfection and economy of phrasing, for exactness of tone. Then, too, I want a book so filled with story and character that I read page after page without thinking of food or drink because a writer has possessed me, crazed with an unappeasable thirst to know what happens next.
As more and more norms disappear from social praxis, literature faces ever-growing difficulties. Its predicament is beginning to resemble that of a child who has discovered that his incredibly understanding parents will let him break with impunity all his toys, indeed everything in the house. The artist cannot create specific prohibitions for himself in order to attack them later in his work; the prohibitions must be real, and hence independent of the writer's choices. And since the relativization of cultural norms has not so far been able to disturb the given characteristics of human biology, that is where writers today seek the still perceptible points of resistance--which is why literature is preoccupied with the theme of sex.
In my opinion, it is not the writer’s job to solve such problems as the existence of God, pessimism, etc. The job of the artist is only to record who under which circumstances said or thought what about God or pessimism. The artist must not judge his characters or their words; he must only be an impartial witness… It is high time for writers— and especially for true artists— to admit that it is impossible to explain anything… if an artist whom the crowd trusts admits that he understands nothing of what he sees, this fact alone will make a great contribution to the realm of thought and will mark a great step forward.
Writing is an expression of the writer's own peculiar personality, could not help being so. Yet in reading great works one feels that the finished piece transcends the personal. All writers great and small must sometimes have felt that they have become part of what they wrote even more than it still remains a part of them.