Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created - nothing.
Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
I can’t write five words but that I change seven.
It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.
It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.
There's no such thing as writer's block. That was invented by people in California who couldn't write.
If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write.
My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure.
The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.
A man will turn over half a library to make one book.
The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading in order to write. A man will turn over half a library to make a book.
Literature is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none
Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
The scariest moment is always just before you start.
It is in this matter that I fall foul of so many American writers on writing; they seem to think that writing is a confidence game by means of which the author cajoles a restless, dull-witted, shallow audience into hearing his point of view. Such an attitude is base, and can only beget base prose.
How to read writers on writing: With respect, amusement, and skepticism. They will contradict one another-as they should-for each writer brings an individual history to the writing task. There is no single theology here.
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