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10 Jul 2012

TTT - Writing wisdom

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week we're free to ramble on about any topic.  I've been through tons of ideas that weren't book or writing related but I thought that would be too random and out of place.  Instead I'm showing you...

Top Ten Quotes on Writing

On Goodreads I've discovered an awesome little feature where I can list my favourite quotes.  And I've found some awesome writing ones that can make me giggle but when I think about it, they're so true:

1) “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”  ― Toni Morrison  

Partly true.  I'm always inspired by something with a WiP but I know my horror ambition is in response to the lack of horror I see on YA shelves.  I know there have been a few ghost stories and zombie stories out there but I still think it's a genre that's been overshadowed, especially with werewolves and vampires.  They just seem to be romantic icons now and what I really want to read is a YA book where they're the bad guys.  Hence how Beast Inside came about.

2) “The first draft of anything is shit.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Yep.  Sometimes I look at the draft I'm writing and think: dear god, this crap is never going to be published.  This is my go to quote for NaNo.  There may be tons of things I'll hate during the first draft but it makes me feel better knowing that it's always going to be rubbish.

3) “People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy.”  ― Joss Whedon

I'm totally on the side of messing with your characters and not always giving a happy ending.  Reality doesn't give happy endings sometimes so I don't think books always should, especially in horror.  People get messed with so characters should experience the same things.  There does have to be some resolve but overall I honestly don't mind endings that aren't completely happy.

4) “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”― Maya Angelou

Just like the first quote a SNI can stay floating around in my head.  The ones that really get me all excited are unbearable to keep inside and sooner or later I need to start jotting down notes.

5) “Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.”  ― Meg Cabot

I've always believed for a book to do the best it can you have to love it.  What's the point in writing it if isn't something you're passionate about? The first person to write for is yourself.

6) “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”  ― Robert Frost

Adding to quote five, if you don't have the passion and emotion for it, it's probably not going to do well.  A good book is one that gets you just as hooked as the author who wrote it.  When a character dies you cry for them because that author did too.

7) “Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”  ― Neil Gaiman

Can't have done this post without a Neil Gaiman quote. :) A lot of people think writing is easy.  It's just sitting on your arse and typing out a few words.  It's harder than that.  Sometimes you can end up staring at what should be the first chapter and thinking of that first line for hours.  The line to capture the reader's immediate attention.  How do you start the story off? Where's the best place to begin? Blank screen/paper... you're intimidating.

8) “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”― E.L. Doctorow

As a writer I have an excuse when I talk to the voices in my head.  They're only my characters and they're telling me things for the story.  Honestly... (Redrum... redrum...)

9) “By now, it is probably very late at night, and you have stayed up to read this book when you should have gone to sleep. If this is the case, then I commend you for falling into my trap. It is a writer's greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy hours of the morning reading one of his books. It goes back to authors being terrible people who delight in the suffering of others. Plus, we get a kickback from the caffeine industry...”  ― Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

A good book is also a tormenting bastard that will NOT let you rest.  That chapter just needs to be finished... well, I might as well finish this chapter now that I've started... oh but I'm SO close to the end... I've read a few books that have turned me into this lucozade guzzling, red eyed, exhausted zombie because I continued reading when I should have gone to bed and rested for work the next day. 

10) “Cram your head with characters and stories. Abuse your library privileges. Never stop looking at the world, and never stop reading to find out what sense other people have made of it. If people give you a hard time and tell you to get your nose out of a book, tell them you're working. Tell them it's research. Tell them to pipe down and leave you alone.”  ― Jennifer Weiner

At high school a few people knew I wrote.  Luckily I had supportive friends and family who always encouraged me and showed interest.  But I know anyone outside my circle of friends didn't think I was serious about it or that it was something to be serious about.  Some people aren't lucky.  Parents think their writer children should go out and focus on a "real" job or friends will just laugh and tell you to do something better with your time.  We've got authors like JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Stephenie Meyer and Stephen King who earn millions from their books and yet some people still don't think writing is serious or good enough to have as a full time job.  This quote is perfect for the writers who feel they don't have the support they should have.  Keep going.  Keep doing what you want to do.  Your parents and family are probably following or have followed their dreams so you should have that freedom to as well. 

What are your favourite writing quotes? :)


  1. Number two just became my motto ;)

  2. I like this post so much I'm bookmarking it!

  3. I like 1 and 5--write what you want to read, especially if no-one has written that book yet! There is a flip side to this: don't simply re-write your favorite novel. If your story idea has already been written, let it go. Unless you have a new twist to the story that makes it your own. And then you're writing a novel you want to read that hasn't yet been written. :)

  4. Gosh I love this list. Thanks. I've just started to think maybe I could put that small story brewing in my mind into paper and here I am looking at that perfect thing to motivate me.

    Love quote 1,2, 3 and 5.

    Good luck with your writing. =)

  5. Oh, I love this idea and the quotes you've chosen. My favorite quote about writing is one from Chekhov where he says something like: the writer's job is not to solve a problem but to describe it accurately.

  6. Haha, Cole same here. It's helping me through first drafts at the mo.

    Thank you Mary and Vithya. And Vithya... go for it! If you got something brewing follow quote number 4. It's ordering you to write! :D

    Colin, it's a tricky thing at the moment isn't it? In terms of originality, what's already been written and trying to put a new spin on things. But it helps to look at stories you want but can't see yet on the shelves. Then you'll know where the gap in the market is!

    Great quote Claudia! It was so hard to choose the top ten because there were so many listed on Goodreads that were absolutely perfect and inspirational.

  7. Joss Whedon is such a bitch, right? XD God, do I love Firefly..

    Patricia // My Post