18 gems about writing from 16¼ great authors

1. If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred,
 you have the odds in your favor. - Edgar Rice Burroughs

2. I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.

- Truman Capote

critics, Melissa McCarthy, Roger Ebert

3. Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good 
writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't
 see any. - Orson Scott Card

4. When men ask me how I know so much about men, they get a simple answer: everything I know about men, I learned from me.

- Anton Chekhov

5. It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit 
brilliantly. - C. J. Cherryh

6. 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.

- Colette

7. Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. 
It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the 
seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it...
- Michael Crichton

8. Never throw up on an editor.

- Ellen Datlow

9. Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are 
merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical
 sentences. - Anne McCaffrey

10. The task of a writer consists in being able to make something out of an idea.

- Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann, writing tips, famous writers

source: bundesarchiv-bild-183-h28795-/cc-by-sa.jpg

11. All the words I use in my stories can be found in the 
dictionary - it's just a matter of arranging them into the right 
sentences. 
- W. Somerset Maugham

12. The reader has certain rights. He bought your story. Think of this as an implicit contract. He’s entitled to be entertained, instructed, amused; maybe all three. If he quits in the middle, or puts the book down feeling his time has been wasted, you’re in violation.

- Larry Niven

13. Fantasy doesn't have to be fantastic. American writers in 
particular find this much harder to grasp. You need to have your 
feet on the ground as much as your head in the clouds. The cute 
dragon that sits on your shoulder also craps all down your back, 
but this makes it more interesting because it gives it an added 
dimension. 
- Terry Pratchett
Larry Niven photo: David Corby

Larry Niven
photo: David Corby

14. The main question to a novel is – did it amuse? were you surprised at dinner coming so soon? did you mistake eleven for ten? were you too late to dress? and did you sit up beyond the usual hour? If a novel produces these effects, it is good; if it does not – story, language, love, scandal itself cannot save it. It is only meant to please; and it must do that or it does nothing.

- Sydney Smith

15. There is no idea so stupid or hackneyed that a sufficiently
talented writer can't get a good story out of it. 
- Lawrence Watt-Evans

16. There is no idea so brilliant or original that a sufficiently-untalented writer can’t screw it up.

-Raymond Feist

17. It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a 
knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude 
to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn't 
advance the story. 
- Frank Yerby

18. If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.

- W. Somerset Maugham

Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

19. Fiction writing is great. You can make up almost anything.

- Ivana Trump, upon finishing her first novel

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5 Responses to 18 gems about writing from 16¼ great authors

  1. Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    I especially loved number 13 and that is why I love Terry Pratchett

  2. I love this list, but I cannot pick only one I like best. Thank YOU. :-D.

  3. L.S. Engler says:

    You can really tell that I’ve been up to my eyeballs in editing when so many of these quotes give me hope that all this slaving away is worth it. Great list. Thanks for compiling so many great reminders and inspirations.

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