Tag Archives: narrative

Marisha Pessl, (b. October 26): “Some stories you should run from” & other quotes on writing

26 Oct
pessl_CROP

pinterest.com/pin/39406565465037371/

Marisha Pessl, born 26 October 1977, is an American writer best known for her debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

Quotes on writing:

  1. My writing schedule is like any normal job, 9-5, M-F. 
  2. Some stories you should run from while you still have legs.
  3. I haven’t always been a writer and I suppose I tiptoed around the idea of writing full time, because it’s so isolating.
  4. When I’m creating characters, I definitely think of theme songs. Writing for me is very visual, so I sometimes think of it in terms of a movie with a soundtrack, and try to transfer that to words.
  5. Certainly one of the surprising truths of having a book published is realizing that your book is as open to interpretation as an abstract painting. People bring their own beliefs and attitudes to your work, which is thrilling and surprising at the same time.
  6. I think every writer has a book that haunts them, and on some level, every book you write is a reaction to it. Lolita is that book for me. Nabokov’s love of wordplay, descriptive detail, artfully complex plots, and his themes of obsession and lost love, are inspiring.
  7. Never try to change the narrative structure of someone else’s story, though you will certainly be tempted to, as you watch those poor souls in school, in life, heading unwittingly down dangerous tangents, fatal digressions from which they will unlikely be able to emerge. Resist the temptation. Spend your energies on your story. Reworking it. Making it better. Increasing the scale, the depth of content, the universal themes. And I don’t care what those themes are – they’re yours to uncover and stand behind – so long as, at the very least, there is courage.

Denis Lehane (b. August 4th): “Narrative makes sense of chaos.”

4 Aug

lehane

“Narrative becomes the way you make sense of chaos. That’s how you focus the world. It’s the only reason you should ever try this writing job.”

~ Dennis Lehane, b. 4 August 1965

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462577472/

 

Richard North Patterson (b. February 22): “There’s a wonderful freedom to being a novelist.”

22 Feb

patterson_RN-crop

Richard North Patterson, born 22 February 1947, is an American best-selling fiction writer of 22 novels. Before he wrote full time, he studied creative writing at the University of Alabama. He was also a lawyer. He served as Ohio’s Assistant Attorney General, a Watergate prosecutor, and as an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. His first novel, The Lasko Tangent, won an Edgar Allen Poe Award in 1979.

10 quotes on writing:

  1. The business of writing is empathizing with situations that aren’t your own.
  2. Writing seems like the only job where what you think and feel really matters.
  3. I was 29 when I wrote my first novel. But I was 45 when I quit for good. I was a 16-year overnight success.
  4. There is a wonderful freedom to being a novelist – it’s self-assigned work. For someone who’s curious by nature, it’s a perfect job.
  5. The manuscript you submit [should not] contain any flaws that you can identify – it is up to the writer to do the work, rather than counting on some stranger in Manhattan to do it for him.
  6. Writing is re-writing. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes. To fall in love with the first draft where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospect of never publishing.
  7. Trial lawyers have to be story tellers. They have to arrange complex facts in attractive narratives; grasp character; understand judges, juries, make clients appealing, understandable. They do have a lot of stories to tell – vivid and interesting things to talk about.
  8. Write what you care about and understand. Writers should never try to outguess the marketplace in search of a saleable idea; the simple truth is that all good books will eventually find a publisher if the writer tries hard enough, and a central secret to writing a good book is to write one that people like you will enjoy.
  9. Monday through Friday, I get up at five, read The New York Times and begin writing by seven. I work with an outline of the chapter or scenes from each day and typically finish with original writing by noon. Throughout the afternoon my assistant and I work the draft over until it’s as good as it can be. Typically we’re not happy until late afternoon.
  10. The writer must always leave room for the characters to grow and change. If you move your characters from plot point to plot point, like painting by the numbers, they often remain stick figures. They will never take on a life of their own. The most exciting thing is when you find a character doing something surprising or unplanned. Like a character saying to me: “Hey, Richard, you may think I work for you, but I don’t. I’m my own person.”

 

Marisha Pessl, (b. October 26): “Some stories you should run from” & other quotes on writing

26 Oct
pessl_CROP

pinterest.com/pin/39406565465037371/

Marisha Pessl, born 26 October 1977, is an American writer best known for her debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

Quotes on writing:

  1. My writing schedule is like any normal job, 9-5, M-F. 
  2. Some stories you should run from while you still have legs.
  3. I haven’t always been a writer and I suppose I tiptoed around the idea of writing full time, because it’s so isolating.
  4. When I’m creating characters, I definitely think of theme songs. Writing for me is very visual, so I sometimes think of it in terms of a movie with a soundtrack, and try to transfer that to words.
  5. Certainly one of the surprising truths of having a book published is realizing that your book is as open to interpretation as an abstract painting. People bring their own beliefs and attitudes to your work, which is thrilling and surprising at the same time.
  6. I think every writer has a book that haunts them, and on some level, every book you write is a reaction to it. Lolita is that book for me. Nabokov’s love of wordplay, descriptive detail, artfully complex plots, and his themes of obsession and lost love, are inspiring.
  7. Never try to change the narrative structure of someone else’s story, though you will certainly be tempted to, as you watch those poor souls in school, in life, heading unwittingly down dangerous tangents, fatal digressions from which they will unlikely be able to emerge. Resist the temptation. Spend your energies on your story. Reworking it. Making it better. Increasing the scale, the depth of content, the universal themes. And I don’t care what those themes are – they’re yours to uncover and stand behind – so long as, at the very least, there is courage.

Denis Lehane (b. August 4th): “Narrative makes sense of chaos.”

4 Aug

lehane

“Narrative becomes the way you make sense of chaos. That’s how you focus the world. It’s the only reason you should ever try this writing job.”

~ Dennis Lehane, b. 4 August 1965

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462577472/

 

Denis Lehane (b. August 4th): “Narrative makes sense of chaos.”

4 Aug

lehane

“Narrative becomes the way you make sense of chaos. That’s how you focus the world. It’s the only reason you should ever try this writing job.”

~ Dennis Lehane, b. 4 August 1965

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462577472/

 

Richard North Patterson (b. February 22): “There’s a wonderful freedom to being a novelist.”

22 Feb

patterson_RN-crop

Richard North Patterson, born 22 February 1947, is an American best-selling fiction writer of 22 novels. Before he wrote full time, he studied creative writing at the University of Alabama. He was also a lawyer. He served as Ohio’s Assistant Attorney General, a Watergate prosecutor, and as an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. His first novel, The Lasko Tangent, won an Edgar Allen Poe Award in 1979.

10 quotes on writing:

  1. The business of writing is empathizing with situations that aren’t your own.
  2. Writing seems like the only job where what you think and feel really matters.
  3. I was 29 when I wrote my first novel. But I was 45 when I quit for good. I was a 16-year overnight success.
  4. There is a wonderful freedom to being a novelist – it’s self-assigned work. For someone who’s curious by nature, it’s a perfect job.
  5. The manuscript you submit [should not] contain any flaws that you can identify – it is up to the writer to do the work, rather than counting on some stranger in Manhattan to do it for him.
  6. Writing is re-writing. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes. To fall in love with the first draft where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospect of never publishing.
  7. Trial lawyers have to be story tellers. They have to arrange complex facts in attractive narratives; grasp character; understand judges, juries, make clients appealing, understandable. They do have a lot of stories to tell – vivid and interesting things to talk about.
  8. Write what you care about and understand. Writers should never try to outguess the marketplace in search of a saleable idea; the simple truth is that all good books will eventually find a publisher if the writer tries hard enough, and a central secret to writing a good book is to write one that people like you will enjoy.
  9. Monday through Friday, I get up at five, read The New York Times and begin writing by seven. I work with an outline of the chapter or scenes from each day and typically finish with original writing by noon. Throughout the afternoon my assistant and I work the draft over until it’s as good as it can be. Typically we’re not happy until late afternoon.
  10. The writer must always leave room for the characters to grow and change. If you move your characters from plot point to plot point, like painting by the numbers, they often remain stick figures. They will never take on a life of their own. The most exciting thing is when you find a character doing something surprising or unplanned. Like a character saying to me: “Hey, Richard, you may think I work for you, but I don’t. I’m my own person.”

 

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