November marks National Novel Writing Month—the time of year that encourages aspiring writers everywhere to get cracking on that novel. For many, writing is a deeply personal experience, all consuming and arduous, not to mention solitary. We’ve put together some quotes from authors who know all too well what lies ahead, and we hope that they will help you put pen to paper, particularly in moments of self doubt, and inspire you to greatness.
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.
People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.
The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.
Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.
Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.
—Henry David Thoreau
I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.
Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
You can’t build a plot out of jokes. You need tragic relief. And you need to let people know that when a lot of frightened people are running around with edged weaponry, there are deaths. Stupid deaths, usually. I’m not writing ‘The A-Team’ – if there’s a fight going on, people will get hurt. Not letting this happen would be a betrayal.
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