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Algernon Blackwood (b. March 14): “No man can describe to another the magic of the woman who ensnares him.”

14 Mar

Algernon Blackwood, London, 1951; photograph by Norman Parkinson

Algernon Blackwood, born 14 March 1869, died 10 December 1951, was an English short story writer and novelist. He was one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. His two best known stories are The Willows and The Wendigo.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Invention has ever imagination and poetry at its heart.
  2. Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil.
  3. No man can describe to another convincingly wherein lies the magic of the woman who ensnares him.
  4. But the wicked passions of men’s hearts alone seem strong enough to leave pictures that persist; the good are ever too lukewarm.
  5. And if thought and emotion can persist in this way so long after the brain that sent them forth has crumpled into dust, how vitally important it must be to control their very birth in the heart, and guard them with the keenest possible restraint.

Neil Gaiman (b. November 10): “You get ideas from being bored” & other quotes on writing

10 Nov

gaiman2Neil Gaiman, born 10 November 1960, is an English author who writes short stories, novels, comic books, graphic novels and films. His novels include Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.

Quotes on writing

  1. Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
  2. Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
  3. You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
  4. Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
  5. Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.

Kate Grenville (b. October 14): “Fiction is a lot more than entertainment” & other quotes on writing

14 Oct
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Kate Grenville, born 14 October 1950, is an Australian author who’s published nine novels, a collection of short stories and four books on writing. She’s won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Orange Prize. Two of her novels have been made into feature films.

Six quotes on writing:

  1. I’m a great believer in the experiential theory of writing.
  2. A novel is a way of living in another person’s reality for a time.
  3. History is a lot more than facts and fiction is a lot more than entertainment. 
  4. You can’t necessarily change the way language is used, but if it becomes something you’re conscious of … that gives you a certain power over it.
  5. For me, fiction’s job is to take you (both reader and writer) out of your comfort zone into the deep space of the new.  There’s a natural resistance to that. 
  6. Two pieces of advice: One, write out of an urge to write, not a desire to be a writer. That is, write about things that are important to you rather than things you think will find a market. Two, find some kind of paid work that will free you from the need to make a living from your writing, while giving you some time to write. 

Katherine Anne Porter (b. May 15): “The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty.”

15 May

Image result for Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne Porter (15 May 1890 – 18 September 1980) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist. Her 1962 novel Ship of Fools was the best-selling novel in America that year, but her short stories received much more critical acclaim.

10 Quotes on writing:

  1. You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is an emanation from your own being.
  2. Most people won’t realise that writing is a craft. You have to take your apprenticeship in it like anything else.
  3. I have not much interest in anyone’s personal history after the tenth year, not even my own. Whatever one was going to be was all prepared before that.
  4. The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty, one’s own even more, for that has been put in our care and we are responsible for its well-being.
  5. If I didn’t know the ending of a story, I wouldn’t begin. I always write my last lines, my last paragraph, my last page first, and then I go back and work towards it. I know where I’m going. I know what my goal is.
  6. I love the purity of language. I keep cautioning my students and anyone who will listen to me not to use the jargon of trades, not to use scientific language, because they’re going to be out of date the day after tomorrow.
  7. You have to speak clearly and simply and purely in a language that a six-year-old child can understand; and yet have the meanings and the overtones of language, and the implications, that appeal to the highest intelligence.
  8. I think it’s something in the blood. We’ve always had great letter writers, readers, great storytellers in our family. I’ve listened all my life to articulate people. They were all great storytellers, and every story had shape and meaning and point.
  9. Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning.
  10. I prefer to get up very early in the morning and work. I don’t want to speak to anybody or see anybody. Perfect silence. I work until the vein is out. There’s something about the way you feel, you know when the well is dry, that you’ll have to wait till tomorrow and it’ll be full up again.

 

Algernon Blackwood (b. March 14): “No man can describe to another the magic of the woman who ensnares him.”

14 Mar

Algernon Blackwood, London, 1951; photograph by Norman Parkinson

Algernon Blackwood, born 14 March 1869, died 10 December 1951, was an English short story writer and novelist. He was one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. His two best known stories are The Willows and The Wendigo.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Invention has ever imagination and poetry at its heart.
  2. Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil.
  3. No man can describe to another convincingly wherein lies the magic of the woman who ensnares him.
  4. But the wicked passions of men’s hearts alone seem strong enough to leave pictures that persist; the good are ever too lukewarm.
  5. And if thought and emotion can persist in this way so long after the brain that sent them forth has crumpled into dust, how vitally important it must be to control their very birth in the heart, and guard them with the keenest possible restraint.

Neil Gaiman (b. November 10): “You get ideas from being bored” & other quotes on writing

10 Nov

gaiman2Neil Gaiman, born 10 November 1960, is an English author who writes short stories, novels, comic books, graphic novels and films. His novels include Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.

Quotes on writing

  1. Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
  2. Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
  3. You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
  4. Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
  5. Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.

Yiyun Li (b. November 4): “One should be able to imagine being somebody else”

4 Nov

Yiyun Li, born 4 November 1972, is a Chinese American writer whose works include the short story collections A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, and the novel The Vagrants

Quotes on writing:

  1. I think I’m just writing about human nature and it just so happens that my characters are Chinese.
  2. To write about a struggle amidst the struggling: one must hope that the muddling will end someday.
  3. What a long way it is from one life to another: yet why write if not for that distance; if things can be let go, every before replaced by an after.
  4. Oftentimes if a story didn’t work, I would rescue one character or two characters—or one paragraph—from the story and start all over. Which actually was very efficient for me, I think. You can spend so much time revising.
  5. When I first started writing, I thought a lot about the shape of the stories—do you have a triangle or a rectangle, or do you have a mirror image? Is one character a mirror image of the other? What variation did you do with the characters to make that interesting? 
  6. I wish people would ask me about the importance of the imagination. I really believe that one should be able to imagine being somebody else. This is important for writers, but it’s also important for readers, and for all human beings to be able to imagine being somebody else.
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