Writing quotes are a great way to learn how to write fiction.
I take pride in providing writers with the best literary advice available. But you can't beat hearing words of wisdom straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
You will find that many of the articles here at Novel Writing Help are illustrated with loads of quotations from the writing greats. I hope these help to bring the articles to life.
Here, though, I want to give you some of my favourite quotes that I didn't have room to slot in elsewhere...
"I am always chilled and astonished by the would-be writers who ask me for advice and admit, quite blithely, that they 'don't have time to read.' This is like a guy starting up Mount Everest saying that he didn't have time to buy any rope."
- Stephen King
"I find reading very healing, but for me writing is more so. I can disappear."
- Alice Hoffman
"Today is a dawdly day. They seem to alternate. I do a whole of a day's work and then the next day, flushed with triumph, I dawdle. That's today. The crazy thing is that I get about the same number of words down either way."
- John Steinbeck
"People think it's sort of funny that I went to graduate school as a biologist and then became a novelist, but the process is so similar. What I learned is how to formulate or identify a new question that hasn't been asked before, and then to set about solving it, to do original research to find the way to an answer."
- Barbara Kingsolver
"We all have days of near despair, but we are compensated for them by the days when each scene sings on."
- P. D. James
"...writing is something you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done - so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well."
- Ernest Hemingway
"Evan Connell said once that he knew he was finished with a short story when he found himself going through it and taking out commas and then going through the story again and putting commas back in the same places. I like that way of working on something. I respect that kind of care for what is being done."
- Raymond Carver
"I suppose I'm proudest of my novels for what's imagined in them. I think the world of my imagination is a richer and more interesting place than my personal biography."
- John Irving
"It's true that it's a solitary occupation, but you would be surprised at how much companionship a group of imaginary characters can offer once you get to know them."
- Anne Tyler
"Studying English was useless, completely useless. It took me years to recover from that."
- Nick Hornby
"The business of the poet and novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things, and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things."
- Thomas Hardy
"If I can't make anything out just now, if everything I write is empty and flat, this is because I am not shaken with the emotions of my chief characters."
- Gustave Flaubert
"I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on till I am."
- Jane Austen
"I always write in the morning. I was pleased to hear lately that Rousseau too, after he got up in the morning, went for a short walk and sat down to work. In the morning one's head is particularly fresh."
- Leo Tolstoy
"I have from the first felt sure that the writer, when he sits down to commence his novel, should do so, not because he has to tell a story, but because he has a story to tell."
- Anthony Trollope
I will be adding more writing quotes like these to the site very soon.