Top Novel Writing Quotes

Browse top 127 famous quotes and sayings about Novel Writing by most favorite authors.

Favorite Novel Writing Quotes

1. "Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met within the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them."
Author: Alan Bennett
2. "She was like a heroine in a novel that she herself was writing the character kept protesting that she was too strong for love and yet the narrator went on describing her desire."
Author: Anna Godbersen
3. "Senior year. And then life. Maybe that's the way it worked. High school was just a prologue to the real novel. Everybody got to write you -- but when you graduated, you got to write yourself. At graduation you got to collect your teacher's pens and your parents' pens and you got your own pen. And you could do all the writing. Yeah. Wouldn't that be sweet?"
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
4. "When strangers on a train or a plane ask what I do for a living, I say, "I kill people." This response makes for a short conversation. No eye contact and no sudden movement from my seat-mate. Only peace and quiet. Rare is the fellow passenger who asks why I do it.I suppose I got tired hanging out in a book all day waiting for a story to begin. I write the kind of novels I want to read. And why the theme of solving murders? Violent death is larger than life and it's the great equalizer. By law, every victim is entitled to a paladin and a chase, else life would be cheapened.And the real reason I do this? My brain is simply bent this way. There is nothing else I would rather do. This neatly chains into my theory of the writing life. If you scratch an artist, under the skin you will find a bum who cannot hold down a real job. Conversely, if you scratch a bum... but I have never done that.The heart of my theory has puritan roots: if you love what you do, you cannot call it honest work."
Author: Carol O'Connell
5. "I write my novels longhand. I love the feeling of writing; I love to see pen on paper. It feels more creative than typing, and it's a more visual process for me - I can picture the entire scene in my head and am merely writing what I see."
Author: Cecelia Ahern
6. "[...]i'm not a leftist trying to smuggle in my evil message by the nefarious means of fantasy novels. I'm a science fiction and fantasy geek. I love this stuff. And when I write my novels, I'm not writing them to make political points. I'm writing them because I passionately love monsters and the weird and horror stories and strange situations and surrealism, and what I want to do is communicate that. But, because I come at this with a political perspective, the world that I'm creating is embedded with many of the concerns that I have [...] I'm trying to say I've invented this world that I think is really cool and I have these really big stories to tell in it and one of the ways that I find to make that interesting is to think about it politically. If you want to do that too, that's fantastic. But if not, isn't this a cool monster?"
Author: China Miéville
7. "Rereading parts of your novel while writing is like doubling back at rerunning parts of a marathon midrace."
Author: Chris Baty
8. "I'm always determined that as a novelist I'm going to go out there and research my characters very thoroughly before I start writing."
Author: Chris Cleave
9. "Many fantasy novels - 'Lord of the Rings', for instance, or 'Lavondyss' by Robert Holdstock - are beautifully written. Geoff Ryman's 'The Child Garden' is exquisite and utterly beguiling. Mervyn Peake's 'Gormenghast' trilogy is an astonishing piece of multi-faceted storytelling. So quality of writing does not condemn the genre."
Author: David Gemmell
10. "It is, as I say, easy enough to describe Holden's style of narration; but more difficult to explain how it holds our attention and gives us pleasure for the length of a whole novel. For, make no mistake, it's the style that makes the book interesting. The story it tells is episodic, inconclusive and largely made up of trivial events. Yet the language is, by normal literary criteria, very impoverished. Salinger, the invisible ventriloquist who speaks to us through Holden, must say everything he has to say about life and death and ultimate values within the limitations of a seventeen-year-old New Yorker's argot, eschewing poetic metaphors, periodic cadences, fine writing of any kind."
Author: David Lodge
11. "In August of 1998, I completed Seize the Night, the sequel to my novel Fear Nothing, one of many of my books in which a dog is among the cast of principal characters. Every time I wrote a story that included a canine, my yearning for a dog grew. Readers and critics alike said I had an uncanny knack for writing convincingly about dogs and even for writing from a dog's point of view. When a story contained a canine character, I always felt especially inspired, as if some angel watching over me was trying to tell me that dogs were a fundamental part of my destiny if only I would listen."
Author: Dean Koontz
12. "A novel's whole pattern is rarely apparent at the outset of writing, or even at the end; that is when the writer finds out what a novel is about, and the job becomes one of understanding and deepening or sharpening what is already written. That is finding the theme."
Author: Diane Johnson
13. "All my life and all my experience, the events that have befallen me, the people I have known, all my memories, dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto the compost heap, where over time it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it the imagination. I think of it as a compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost, and wait. It feeds on the black stuff that used to be a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates,. Takes root. Produces shoots. And so on and so forth, until one fine day I have a story, or a novel....Readers are fools. They believe all writing is autobiographical. And so it is, but not in the way they think. The writer's life needs time to rot away before it can be used to nourish a work of fiction. It must be allowed to decay."
Author: Diane Setterfield
14. "The novel is a hybrid genre and a large part of its charm arises from the alluvial nature of its materials. There is nothing that doesn't suit a novelist in action, when he's in the course of writing his novel."
Author: Enrique Vila Matas
15. "She had a brief affair with a novelist, W. L. River, whose Death of a Young Man had been published several years earlier. He called her Motsie and pledged himself to her in letters composed of stupendously long run-on sentences, in one case seventy-four lines of single-spaced typewriting. At the time this passed for experimental prose. "I want nothing from life except you," he wrote. "I want to be with you forever, to work and write for you, to live wherever you want to live, to love nothing, nobody but you, to love you with the passion of earth but also with the above earthly elements of more eternal, spiritual love.…"He did not, however, get his wish."
Author: Erik Larson
16. "I binge write. I think it's because I started seriously writing by participating in National Novel Writing Month, an online-based challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days."
Author: Erin Morgenstern
17. "Gavin said that writing novels with a PC was supposed to be easier than writing with a typewriter and bond paper, or with a pen and foolscap, or with a chisel and a granite obelisk imported from Greece. I shook my head with pity as he related this canard to me."
Author: Gary Reilly
18. "The finest SF comes to grips with life's mysteries, with our resentments against our own natures and our limited societies. It does so by asking basic questions in the artful, liberating way that is unique to this form of writing. Echoes of it are found in other forms of fiction - in the novel of ideas, in the historical novel, in the writings of the great philosophers and scientists; but the best SF does this all more searchingly, by taking what is in most people only a moment of wonder and rebellion against the arbitrariness of existence and making of it an art enriched by knowledge and possibility, expressing our deepest human longing to penetrate into the dark heart of the unknown."
Author: George Zebrowski
19. "I'm trying to get every man involved in art, into experimental music, or painting, or novel-writing."
Author: Harvey Pekar
20. "A logic proof is: you get a starting point and an ending point, and you have to get there through all these different steps and tautologies. I approach novel writing that way. When I get to the end I have to go back and connect everything."
Author: Heidi Julavits
21. "Only now, years after having read though the works of Shakespeare, Dickens, Scott, Poe, Balzac did he realise that even the most prolific writer created only one novel; throw away the individual bindings and the whole of each man's writing constituted one book: the true and complete portrait of himself. An artist had one thing to say, and one only; he might flail about, seek new techniques, forms, colour combinations, subjects, but intrinsically he would always paint the same canvas, write the same book."
Author: Irving Stone
22. "A novelist has two lives-- a reading and writing life, and a lived life. he or she cannot be understood at all apart from this."
Author: Jane Smiley
23. "You should spend more time reading the Good Book and less reading all those novels. What are you going to tell the Lord on Judgement Day when He asks you why you didn't read your bible? Hmm?"I will tell Him that His press agents could have done with a writing lesson or two, I said. To myself."
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
24. "Of course, if I write a first-person novel about a woman writer, I am inviting every book reviewer to apply the autobiographical label -- to conclude that I am writing about myself. But one must never not write a certain kind of novel out of fear of what the reaction to it will be."
Author: John Irving
25. "You would go mad if you began to speculate about the impact your novel might have while you were still writing it."
Author: Jonathan Coe
26. "Novel-writing is a bit like deception. You lie as little as you possibly can. That's the way I do it, anyway."
Author: Joseph O'Neill
27. "One Bagatelle, and I'll raise you a novel," Megan had tweeted back."Writing for tea? Now that would have been a solution for the British empire," Laura returned."Writing for me," Megan had typed."I'll write you a tea fortune.""No deal. I want a novel. September sounds good."
Author: L.L. Barkat
28. "This was what I came to found. The conquest of loneliness was the missing link that was one day going to make a decent novelist out of me. If you are out here and cannot close off the loves and hates of all that back there in the real world the memories will overtake you and swamp you and wilt your tenacity. Tenacity stamina... close off to everything and everyone but your writing. That s the bloody price. I don t know maybe it's some kind of ultimate selfishness. Maybe it's part of the killer instinct. Unless you can stash away and bury thoughts of your greatest love you cannot sustain the kind of concentration that breaks most men trying to write a book over a three or four year period."
Author: Leon Uris
29. "Every decade of my life I attempted to write a novel. But I had nothing to say. I was far too self-absorbed, and now I realize I was writing for others, so that they'd applaud me, see my genius, tell me how wonderful I am, or be jealous of my success."
Author: Louise Penny
30. "A good novel is a good novel, pointe finale. And I think what I'm writing is exactly that."
Author: Louise Penny
31. "I think that's the most important job of a novelist - to bring authority to their writing."
Author: Maria Semple
32. "In a Loaded Questions Interview on the subject of flipping a coin to see which characters would live and which would die for her novel "Thread of Grace": "So the problem was, How do I avoid writing a Feel-Good Holocaust Novel?"
Author: Mary Doria Russell
33. "You don't write a novel out of sheer pity any more than you blow a safe out of a vague longing to be rich. A certain ruthlessness and a sense of alienation from society is as essential to creative writing as it is to armed robbery."
Author: Nelson Algren
34. "After these three novels I gave up writing novels for a time; I was dissatisfied with romantic doom, yet didn't see much way around it."
Author: Nicholas Mosley
35. "You do not learn how to write novels in a writing program. You learn how by leading an interesting life. Open yourself up to all experience. Let life pour through you the way light pours through leaves."
Author: Pat Conroy
36. "I started a novel back in high school. It wasn't very good. It was the opposite of good. The writing itself wasn't too bad, and the characters were interesting. But the story was a mess, and it was full of fantasy cliches. Dwarf with an axe. Barbarian warrior. I don't ever think I'd bother finishing that. It's just not worth my time."
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
37. "There were no rules when it came to writing, he said. Take a close look at the lives of poets and novelists, and what you wound up with was unalloyed chaos, an infinite jumble of exceptions. That was because writing was a disease, Tom continued, what you might call an infection or influenza of the spirit, and therefore it could strike anyone at any time. The young and the old, the strong and the weak, the drunk and the sober, the sane and the insane. Scan the roster of the giants and semi-giants, and you would discover writers who embraced every sexual proclivity, every political bent, and every human attribute — from the loftiest idealism to the most insidious corruption. They were criminals and lawyers, spies and doctors, soldiers and spinsters, travelers and shut-ins."
Author: Paul Auster
38. "They know a million tricks, those novelists. Take Doctor Goebbels; that's how he started out, writing fiction. Appeals to the base lusts that hide in everyone no matter how respectable on the surface. Yes, the novelist knows humanity, how worthless they are, ruled by their testicles, swayed by cowardice, selling out every cause because of their greed - all he's got to do is thump on the drum, and there's his response. And he's laughing, of course, behind his hand at the effect he gets."
Author: Philip K. Dick
39. "Writing is wretched, discouraging, physically unhealthy, infinitely frustrating work. And when it all comes together it's utterly glorious."National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Pep Talk"
Author: Ralph Peters
40. "One of the first serious attempts I made to write a novel was when I was in Grade 6 and I had read 'Matilda.' I wrote my own version and my teacher had it bound and permitted me to read it to the class - cementing my love of reading, writing and Roald Dahl!"
Author: Randa Abdel Fattah
41. "Novel writing is mostly triage (this now, that later) and obstinacy. Trying something, and when that doesn't work, trying something else. Welcoming clutter Surrendering a good idea for a better one. Knowing you won't find the finish line for a year or two, or five..."
Author: Richard Russo
42. "There were no absolutes in fiction, no certain way to deliver what was needed. So it was no surprise most technical writers considered novel-writing a gateway to madness."
Author: S.A. Reid
43. "I dedicate this novel to Gala, who was constantly by my side while I was writing it, who was the good fairy of my equilibrium, who banished the salamanders of my doubts and strengthened the lions of certainties..."
Author: Salvador Dalí
44. "I should have written you a letter, it was too late to make the deaths of my brothers an excuse. Since they died, I wrote a book; why not a letter? A mysterious but truthful answer is that while I can gear myself up to do a novel, letters, real-life communications, are too much for me. I used to rattle them off easily enough; why is the challenge of writing to friends and acquaintances too much for me now? Because I have become such a solitary, and not in the Aristotelian sense: not a beast, not a god. Rather, a loner troubled by longings, incapable of finding a suitable language and despairing at the impossibility of composing messages in a playable key--as if I no longer understood the codes used by the estimable people who wanted to hear from me and would have so much to reply if only the impediments were taken away."
Author: Saul Bellow
45. "Her support was a constant, one of the few good things I could take as a given. And whenever I see a first novel dedicated to a wife (or a husband), I smile and think, There's someone who knows." Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don't have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough."
Author: Stephen King
46. "The Butcher Boy is a very great novel indeed and a very important Irish novel. The ambiguity of that is, he's writing a book about an appalling situation and he does it in a hilarious way."
Author: Stephen Rea
47. "My first seven novels were contemporary spiritual novels, my next nine had strong elements of fantasy, and now I'm writing thrillers, more as a choice to spread my wings than anything. Writers, like good wine, should mature with age."
Author: Ted Dekker
48. "Rules such as "Write what you know," and "Show, don't tell," while doubtlessly grounded in good sense, can be ignored with impunity by any novelist nimble enough to get away with it. There is, in fact, only one rule in writing fiction: Whatever works, works."
Author: Tom Robbins
49. "I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don't know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That's what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say 'people,' that's what I mean."
Author: Toni Morrison
50. "I'm a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can't, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing."
Author: William Faulkner

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Is not prayer the intensely personal struggle within each disciple, and among us collectively, to resist the despair and distractions that cause us to practice unbelief, to abandon or avoid the way of Jesus?"
Author: Ched Myers

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