Tag Archives: rewriting

Michael Crichton (b. October 23): “Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten.”

22 Oct

Crichton3

“Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It’s one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”

~ MICHAEL CRICHTON

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462902281/

 Crichton (born 23 October 1942, died 4 November 2008) was an American best-selling author, producer, director, and screenwriter. He was known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted into films. In 1994, Crichton became the only writer to have works simultaneously charting at No. 1 in television, film, and book sales with ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure

Ursula K. Le Guin (b. October 21): “If you have to die, commit suicide” & other quotes on writing

21 Oct

Ursula K. Le Guin, born 21 October 1929, is an American author first published in the 1960s. Her work often depicts futuristic or imaginary worlds different from ours in politics, natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnography. She’s won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and World Fantasy Award several times.

Quotes on reading and writing:

  1. Write. Revise. If possible, publish.
  2. When I’m writing I don’t dream much; it’s like the dreaming gets used in the writing.
  3. Writing is my craft. I honour it deeply. To have a craft, to be able to work at it, is to be honoured by it. 
  4. The unread story is not a story; it’s little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. 
  5. If you want your writing to be taken seriously, don’t marry and have kids, and above all, don’t die. But if you have to die, commit suicide. They approve of that.
  6. The idea that you need an ivory tower to write in, that if you have babies you can’t have books, that artists are somehow exempt from the dirty work of life – rubbish.
  7. While we read a novel, we’re insane – bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren’t there, we hear their voices… Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.
  8. We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel… is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.
  9. Rewriting is as hard as composition is – that is, very hard work. But revising – fiddling and polishing – that’s gravy – I love it. I could do it forever. And the computer has made it such a breeze.
  10. The book itself is a curious artefact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn’t have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell it to you again when you’re fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you’re reading a whole new book.

 

William Zinsser (b. October 7): “Writing is a craft not an art” & other quotes on writing

7 Oct
Zinsser1_CROP

pinterest.com/pin/39406565464926822/

William Zinsser, born 7 October 1922, is an American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher. He is best known for the book, On Writing Well.

10 quotes on writing:

  1. Writing is a craft not an art.
  2. You learn to write by writing.
  3. Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other.
  4. Rewriting is the essence of writing well: it’s where the game is won or lost.
  5. Writers must constantly ask: what am I trying to say? Surprisingly often, they don’t know.
  6. Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.
  7. Nothing has replaced the writer. He or she is still stuck with the same old job of saying something that other people will want to read.
  8. The reader will notice if you are putting on airs. Readers want the person who is talking to them to sound genuine. Therefore a fundamental rule is: be yourself.
  9. Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.
  10. Many people assume that professional writers don’t need to rewrite; the words just fall in place. On the contrary, careful writers can’t stop fiddling.

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.”

 

Michael Crichton (b. October 23): “Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten.”

23 Oct

Crichton3

“Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It’s one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”

~ MICHAEL CRICHTON

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462902281/

 Crichton (born 23 October 1942, died 4 November 2008) was an American best-selling author, producer, director, and screenwriter. He was known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted into films. In 1994, Crichton became the only writer to have works simultaneously charting at No. 1 in television, film, and book sales with ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure

Ursula K. Le Guin (b. October 21): “If you have to die, commit suicide” & other quotes on writing

21 Oct
LeGuin1

pinterest.com/pin/39406565464734662/

Ursula K. Le Guin, born 21 October 1929, is an American author first published in the 1960s. Her work often depicts futuristic or imaginary worlds different from ours in politics, natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnography. She’s won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and World Fantasy Award several times.

Quotes on reading and writing:

  1. Write. Revise. If possible, publish.
  2. When I’m writing I don’t dream much; it’s like the dreaming gets used in the writing.
  3. Writing is my craft. I honour it deeply. To have a craft, to be able to work at it, is to be honoured by it. 
  4. The unread story is not a story; it’s little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. 
  5. If you want your writing to be taken seriously, don’t marry and have kids, and above all, don’t die. But if you have to die, commit suicide. They approve of that.
  6. The idea that you need an ivory tower to write in, that if you have babies you can’t have books, that artists are somehow exempt from the dirty work of life – rubbish.
  7. While we read a novel, we’re insane – bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren’t there, we hear their voices… Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.
  8. We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel… is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.
  9. Rewriting is as hard as composition is – that is, very hard work. But revising – fiddling and polishing – that’s gravy – I love it. I could do it forever. And the computer has made it such a breeze.
  10. The book itself is a curious artefact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn’t have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell it to you again when you’re fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you’re reading a whole new book.

 

William Zinsser (b. October 7): “Writing is a craft not an art” & other quotes on writing

7 Oct
Zinsser1_CROP

pinterest.com/pin/39406565464926822/

William Zinsser, born 7 October 1922, is an American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher. He is best known for the book, On Writing Well.

10 quotes on writing:

  1. Writing is a craft not an art.
  2. You learn to write by writing.
  3. Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other.
  4. Rewriting is the essence of writing well: it’s where the game is won or lost.
  5. Writers must constantly ask: what am I trying to say? Surprisingly often, they don’t know.
  6. Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.
  7. Nothing has replaced the writer. He or she is still stuck with the same old job of saying something that other people will want to read.
  8. The reader will notice if you are putting on airs. Readers want the person who is talking to them to sound genuine. Therefore a fundamental rule is: be yourself.
  9. Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.
  10. Many people assume that professional writers don’t need to rewrite; the words just fall in place. On the contrary, careful writers can’t stop fiddling.
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