Top Novelists Quotes

Browse top 110 famous quotes and sayings about Novelists by most favorite authors.

Favorite Novelists Quotes

1. "People have many cruel expectations from writers. People expect novelists to live on a hill with three kids and a spouse, people expect children's story writers to never have sex, and people expect all great poets to be dead. And these are all very difficult expectations to fulfill, I think."
Author: C. JoyBell C.
2. "The latter, for the last few centuries, we have been closing up as a way of escape. We have done this through the poets and novelists by persuading the humans that a curious, and usually shortlived, experience which they call ‘being in love' is the only respectable ground for marriage; that marriage can, and ought to, render this excitement permanent; and that a marriage which does not do so is no longer binding."
Author: C.S. Lewis
3. "It is true that novelists are shameless and obey no decent law, and they are not to be trusted on any account, but some Mysteries even they must honor."
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
4. "I think, in common with a lot of novelists, I wasn't the most athletic guy at school."
Author: Chris Cleave
5. "I don't have doctrinaire views about how we should relate to Asia. But novelists reflect the world they live in, and that world propels you, to some extent. I'm a creature of the British Empire, and of the period of transition from the Empire."
Author: Christopher Koch
6. "Outcasts may grow up to be novelists and filmmakers and computer tycoons, but they will never be the athletic ruling class."
Author: Chuck Klosterman
7. "Not all popular novelists are good, but all good novelists are, sooner or later, popular."
Author: Dean Koontz
8. "What terrorists gain, novelists lose. The degree to which they influence mass consciousness is the extent of our decline as shapers of sensibility and thought. The danger they represent equals our own failure to be dangerous.''And the more clearly we see terror, the less impact we feel from art."
Author: Don DeLillo
9. "I watched Buford set things up and I decided that tending bar might be a pretty good way to spend one's life. Spanking down big foaming steins of beer to be encircled by the huge skeet-shooting hands of virile novelists. Rattling the cocktail shaker and doing a little samba step for the amusement of the ladies. To be an expert at something."
Author: Don DeLillo
10. "I do not think men have more talent. There are a great many women in the arts; novelists, painters, sculptors, poets-but the proportion is far lower in the field of song writing."
Author: Dorothy Fields
11. "The novel should tell the truth, as I see the truth, or as the novelist persuades me to see it. And one more demand: I expect the novelist to aspire to improve the world. ... As a novelist, I want to be more than one more dog barking at the other dogs barking at me. Not out of any foolish hope that one novelist, or all virtuous novelists in chorus, can make much of a difference for good, except in the long run, but out of the need to prevent the human world from relaxing into something worse. To maintain the tension between truth and falsity, beauty and ugliness, good and evil. ... I believe the highest duty of the serious novelist is, whatever the means or technique, to be a critic of his society, to hold society to its own ideals, or if these ideals are unworthy, to suggest better ideals."
Author: Edward Abbey
12. "[Referring to passage by Alice Munro] Finally, the passage contradicts a form of bad advice often given young writers -- namely, that the job of the author is to show, not tell. Needless to say, many great novelists combine "dramatic" showing with long sections of the flat-out authorial narration that is, I guess, what is meant by telling. And the warning against telling leads to a confusion that causes novice writers to think that everything should be acted out -- don't tell us a character is happy, show us how she screams "yay" and jumps up and down for joy -- when in fact the responsibility of showing should be assumed by the energetic and specific use of language."
Author: Francine Prose
13. "Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art."
Author: Freya Stark
14. "Like most novelists, I like to do exactly the opposite of what I'm told. It's in my nature as a novelist. Novelists can't trust anything they haven't seen with their own eyes or touched with their own hands. (Jerusalem Prize acceptance speech, JERUSALEM POST, Feb. 15, 2009)"
Author: Haruki Murakami
15. "Dreaming is the day job of novelists, but sharing our dreams is a still more important task for us. We cannot be novelists without this sense of sharing something."
Author: Haruki Murakami
16. "Novelists have to be adept at controlling the flow of information, and, most crucially, they have to be in charge of the narrative."
Author: Ian McEwan
17. "Novelists are always resisting autobiographical readings of their work, because they know how false those can be."
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
18. "...the novel had reached its apogee with the marriage plot and had never recovered from its disappearance. In the days when success in life had depended on marriage, and marriage had depended on money, novelists had had a subject to write about. The great epics sang of war, the novel of marriage. Sexual equality, good for women, had been bad for the novel. And divorce had undone it completely. What would it matter whom Emma married if she could file for separation later? How would Isabel Archer's marriage to Gilbert Osmond have been affected by the existence of a prenup? As far as Saunders was concerned, marriage didn't mean much anymore, and neither did the novel. Where could you find the marriage plot nowadays? You couldn't. You had to read historical fiction. You had to read non-Western novels involving traditional societies. Afghani novels, Indian novels. You had to go, literarily speaking, back in time."
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
19. "'Shun security,' I advise aspiring novelists when they complain to me that they are stuck. 'Get disoriented. Maybe your agonizing writing block isn't agonizing enough. Your enemy is comfort.'"
Author: John Burdett
20. "You may think novelists always have fixed plans to which they work, so that the future predicted by Chapter One is always inexorably the actuality of Chapter Thirteen. But novelists write for countless different reasons: for money, for fame, for reviewers, for parents, for friends, for loved ones; for vanity, for pride, for curiosity, for amusement: as skilled furniture makers enjoy making furniture, as drunkards like drinking, as judges like judging, as Sicilians like emptying a shotgun into an enemy's back. I could fill a book with reasons, and they would all be true, though not true of all. Only one same reason is shared by all of us: we wish to create worlds as real as, but other than the world that is. Or was. This is why we cannot plan. We know a world is an organism, not a machine."
Author: John Fowles
21. "I think it's also the case that I'm not as widely travelled, or as well-educated in history, as most of the other novelists I meet: so I have to write about my own country, at the present time, because it's more or less all I know about!"
Author: Jonathan Coe
22. "How do you turn catastrophe into art? Nowadays the process is automatic. A nuclear plant explodes? We'll have a play on the London stage within a year. A President is assissinated? You can have the book or the film or the filmed book or booked film. War? Send in the novelists. A series of gruesome murders? Listen for the tramp of the poets. We have to understand it, of course, this catastrophe; to understand it, we have to imagine it, so we need the imaginative arts. But we also need to justify it and forgive it, this catastrophe, however minimally. Why did it happen, this mad act of Nature, this crazed human moment? Well, at least it produced art. Perhaps, in the end, that's what catastrophe is for."
Author: Julian Barnes
23. "Wait, that's your idea? That's your expert advice? You're going to tell these novelists to just keep going? You're going to tell these honest, earnest writers: You gotta have faith? Those are George Michael lyrics, asshole. If they wanted that pep talk, they could just hang out inside a mall elevator."
Author: Karen Russell
24. "Alternate history fascinates me, as it fascinates all novelists, because 'What if?' is the big thing."
Author: Kate Atkinson
25. "Novelists have, on the average, about the same IQs as the cosmetic consultants at Bloomingdale's department store. Our power is patience. We have discovered that writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent, if only that person will write the same thought over and over again, improving it just a little bit each time. It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anybody can do it. All it takes is time."
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
26. "Thank God for novelists. Thank God there are people willing to write everything down. Otherwise, so much would be forgotten."
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
27. "You could use a moth like that as a symbol in a novel, but it was trite, wasn't it? The old moth-to-the-flame image had been used and used again. It was the stuff of amateur poetry. And she, having so little experience crafting a story, would be the most in danger of falling into trite approaches. If she wrote a novel, it probably would be about her father. And the male Luna moth would haunt its pages. Everyone would recognize the work as that of a first novelist. "She wrote about herself through the lens of her father."The really good novelists, Laura thought, put their fathers, and maybe their mothers too, deeper into the stories. Which, she suddenly thought, might redeem Melville just the littlest bit."
Author: L.L. Barkat
28. "In theory one is aware that the earth revolves, but in practice one does not perceive it, the ground upon which one treads seems not to move, and one can live undisturbed. So it is with Time in one's life. And to make its flight perceptible novelists are obliged, by wildly accelerating the beat of the pendulum, to transport the reader in a couple of minutes over ten, or twenty, or even thirty years. At the top of one page we have left a lover full of hope; at the foot of the next we meet him again, a bowed old man of eighty, painfully dragging himself on his daily walk about the courtyard of an almshouse, scarcely replying to what is said to him, oblivious of the past."
Author: Marcel Proust
29. "People really want to believe that there is no fiction. I think they find it much easier to imagine that novelists are writing memoirs, writing about their lives, because it's difficult to conceive that there's a great imaginary life in which you can participate."
Author: Mark Leyner
30. "Novelists are stamina merchants, grinders, nine-to-fivers, and their career curves follow the usual arc of human endeavour."
Author: Martin Amis
31. "The ad world used to be something of a refuge for literary types. But I feared for myself at J.W.T. It seemed to be entirely peopled by blocked dramatists, likeably shambling poets, and one-off novelists. The whole place felt like a clubworld sunset home for literary talent."
Author: Martin Amis
32. "Novelists don't age as quickly as philosophers, who often face professional senility in their late twenties."
Author: Martin Amis
33. "I saw novelists as being admirable people and I thought... I thought... maybe, one day, I could be one of them."
Author: Michael Palin
34. "In fact, there is no such thing as character, something fixed and final. The real thing is something that novelists don't know how to write about. Or, if they tried, the end result would never be a novel. Real people are strangely difficult to make sense out of. Even a god would have his hands full trying. But maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, presuming that other people are a mess just because I'm put together in such a disorderly way. If so, I should apologize."
Author: Natsume Sōseki
35. "He didn't want her; he wanted me. Well, you know how it is."Dalgliesh did know. This, after all, was the commonest, the most banal of personal tragedies. You loved someone. They didn't love you. Worse still, in defiance of their own best interests and to the destruction of your peace, they loved another. What would half the world's poets and novelists do without this universal tragicomedy?"
Author: P.D. James
36. "That balance between involvement and detachment is what novelists do. It's the ideal relationship between a novelist and a character, I think, total involvement and identity and empathy, stopping short of being autobiographical - in my case, anyway - but also quite detached."
Author: Pat Barker
37. "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
38. "He loved his job, which allowed time to do it without comparing his performance to others'. He loved the economics of death: hastening a person's passage into the afterlife not only provided him with a good living: it gave work to coroners, beat cops, detectives, crime scene technicians, the people who made fingerprint powder and luminal and other sundry chemicals and devices - not to mention firearm, ammunition, coffin, and tissue manufacturers - obituary writers, crime reporters, novelists."
Author: Robert Liparulo
39. "She knew that what she was going through was nothing special, just garden-variety heartbreak, the sort of thing that poets and novelists had been writing about for hundreds of years, but she also knew, from those same books, that there were people who never recover form it, ones who go on through life beset by a dim and painful longing."
Author: Sarah Dunn
40. "If the rewards to authors go down, simple economics says there will be fewer authors. It's not that people won't burn with the passion to write. The number of people wanting to be novelists is probably not going to decline - but certainly the number of people who are going to be able to make a living as authors is going to dramatically decrease."
Author: Scott Turow
41. "Novelists and poets have existed side by side forever."
Author: Stan Brakhage
42. "Flora sighed. It was curious that persons who lived what the novelists called a rich emotional life always seemed to be a bit slow on the uptake."
Author: Stella Gibbons
43. "You tell me your favorite novelists and I'll tell you whom you vote for, or whether you vote at all."
Author: Stephen Vizinczey
44. "You have seven writers in your basement?"Donald nods, signing, "They like it here. There's a poet, a couple of novelists, an opera librettist, an essay writer . . . . They don't usually make much trouble."
Author: Susan Wiggs
45. "But the other Ministers considered that to employ a magician was one thing, novelists were quite another and they would not stoop to it."
Author: Susanna Clarke
46. "Fairy tales for adult readers remained popular throughout Europe well into the 19th century — particularly in Germany, where the Brothers Grimm published their massive collection of German fairy tales (revised and edited to reflect the Brothers' patriotic and patriarchal ideals), providing inpiration for novelists, poets, and playrights among the German Romantics. Recently, fairy tale scholars have re–discovered the enormous body of work produced by women writers associated with the German Romantics: Grisela von Arnim, Sophie Tieck Bernhardi, Karoline von Günderrode, Julie Berger, and Sophie Albrecht, to name just a few."
Author: Terri Windling
47. "All they're trying to do is tell you what they're like, and what you're like—what's going on—what the weather is now, today, this moment, the rain, the sunlight, look! Open your eyes; listen, listen. That is what the novelists say. But they don't tell you what you will see and hear. All they can tell you is what they have seen and heard, in their time in this world, a third of it spent in sleep and dreaming, another third of it spent in telling lies. "The truth against the world!"—Yes. Certainly. Fiction writers, at least in their braver moments, do desire the truth: to know it, speak it, serve it."
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
48. "Things were easier for the old novelists who saw people all of a piece. Speaking generally, their heroes were good through and through, their villains wholly bad."
Author: W. Somerset Maugham
49. "How do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these? Where are the things that novelists seize upon and readers expect? Where is the high life, the conspicuous waste, the violence, the kinky sex, the death wish? Where are the suburban infidelities, the promiscuities, the convulsive divorces, the alcohol, the drugs, the lost weekends? Where are the hatreds, the political ambitions, the lust for power? Where are speed, noise, ugliness, everything that makes us who we are and makes us recognize ourselves in fiction?"
Author: Wallace Stegner
50. "We must take our sentences seriously, which means we must understand them philosophically, and the odd thing is that the few who do, who take them with utter sober seriousness, the utter sober seriousness of right-wing parsons and political saviors, the owners of Pomeranians, are the liars who want to be believed, the novelists and poets, who know that the creatures they imagine have no other being than the sounding syllables which the reader will speak into his own weary and distracted head. There are no magic words. To say the words is magical enough."
Author: William H. Gass

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Mr. Rochester, I no more assign this fate to you than I grasp at it for myself. We were born to strive and endure - you as well as I: do so. You will forget me before I forget you."
Author: Charlotte Brontë

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