Unfamiliar Quotations

Writing (See also Literature, Mystery Fiction, and Writers)

"Thinking about writing isn’t writing. (Barely qualifies as thinking.)"   -FredFitch 

"When you write a short story, you have to cut off both the beginning and the end. We writers do most of our lying in those spaces." -Anton Chekhov

"Before you can write anything, you have to notice something." - John Irving

"When I originally wrote that novel I had a main character who I fired. We had a labor dispute." - Benjamin Rosenbaum

"I can bang a short story out in eighteen months." - Kate Thornton

"A first draft is crap by definition." -Laurie R. King

"Truth is shorter than fiction." -- Irving Cohen

"So many people can now write competent stories that the short story as a medium is in danger of dying of competence." - Flannery O'Connor

"I had to cut 65,000 words before I could start editing." - Robin Yocum

"If you want to write you sit down and write. There's no plumber's block." - Alan Orloff

"A lot of people ask if I alienate readers by putting social issues in my books. I say, that depends on whether you consider being Black a social issue. I just consider it my skin." - Danny Gardner

"In a short story the destination is the destination." - James Lincoln Warren

"Give your reader a reason to want to know what you're telling them." - Janet Hutchings

"A short story needs to have one point and your reader needs to get it right through the heart." - Kate Thornton

"The idea of a story is that you tell a series of lies that tell some kind of truth." - Johnny Shaw

"But far better to write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.” -Katherine Mansfield

"I write fantasy because I like doing the research."- Karen McCullough

"While writing my novel in the library I felt a strange kinship to the man at the next desk who was talking to fictional characters."  -John Hart

"You are everybody in your book."  -Don Bruns

"Stop just short of the ending. If you act like Tom Sawyer and let your readers do the rest of the work, they'll be more connected to the story, and thank you for it."  -Daryl Gregory

"Style is what the writer does.  Genre is what the marketing department does."  - Richard Vadry

"Why is some short fiction better than novels?  Because it's riskier."  -Stefan Rudnick

"Writing a short story is a tightrope walk.  The craft is getting from one end to the other.  The art is doing a backflip in the middle."  - C.C. Finlay

"In a fair fight character beats plot."  - Robert Mangeot

“All publishers are Columbuses. The successful author is their America. The reflection that they—like Columbus—didn’t discover what they expected to discover, and didn’t discover what they started out to discover, doesn’t trouble them. All they remember is that they discovered America; they forget that they started out to discover some patch or corner of India.” – Mark Twain

"'The cat sat on the mat' is not the beginning of a story, but 'the cat sat on the dog’s mat' is." - John LeCarre

"I'm not ashamed to say I write to a formula. We don't get into a car that hasn't been designed to a formula." - Jeffrey Deaver

“Humor must not professedly teach, it must not professedly preach; but it must do both if it would live forever. By forever, I mean thirty years.” - Mark Twain

“I can't think of a more difficult group of people to work with, than my characters. They hardly ever like each other, and don't seem to like me much either.” – John Floyd

"It is estimated that electronic publication will cost as much as paper publication in 1996, and will cost less thereafter." -J.W. Senders, et al. 1975.


"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." -Stephen King

"Writing well is the best revenge." -Sylvia Tyson

"It was not the most intelligible piece ever written, but it had words in it." -H. Allen Smith 

"The story is not the plot." -David Rich

“An overdose of dialect can kill your story deader than Billy Bob Shakespeare.” – John M. Floyd

"I write short stories for the purpose of procrastination." -Craig Faustus Buck

"Good storytelling requires that you be a good listener." - Steve Steinbock


“If you can’t make your point in fifteen thousand words, you’re either writing a novel or you belong in politics.” -Doug Allyn

“There is only one plot--things are not what they seem." Jim Thompson

"It’s not real because it’s real. It’s real because I made it up.” - Walter Mosley.