Great Writing Quotes

Quotes tagged as "great-writing" (showing 1-17 of 17)
Stephen King
“There are books full of great writing that don't have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story... don't be like the book-snobs who won't do that. Read sometimes for the words--the language. Don't be like the play-it-safers who won't do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.”
Stephen King

Edgar Allan Poe
“I intend to put up with nothing that I can put down."

[Letter to J. Beauchamp Jones, August 8, 1839]”
Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Amanda Lance
“Smiles from girls like you are what started the Trojan War.”
Amanda Lance, Endangered Hearts

Ernest Hemingway
“In truly good writing no matter how many times you read it you do not know how it is done. That is beacause there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dis-sect out. It continues and it is always valid. Each time you re-read you see or learn something new.”
Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway on Writing

Eleanor Catton
“What was glimpsed in Aquarius—what was envisioned, believed in, prophesied, predicted, doubted, and forewarned—is made, in Pisces, manifest. Those solitary visions that, but a month ago, belonged only to the dreamer, will now acquire the form and substance of the real. We were of our own making, and we shall be our own end.

And after Pisces? Out of the womb, the bloody birth. We do not follow: we cannot cross from last to first. Aries will not admit a collective point of view, and Taurus will not relinquish the subjective. Gemini's code is an exclusive one. Cancer seeks a source, Leo, a purpose, and Virgo, a design; but these are projects undertaken singly. Only in the zodiac's second act will we begin to show ourselves: in Libra, as a notion, in Scorpio, as a quality, and in Sagittarius, as a voice. In Capricorn we will gain memory, and in Aquarius, vision; it is only in Pisces, the last and oldest of the zodiacal signs, that we acquire a kind of selfhood, something whole. But the doubled fish of Pisces, that mirrored womb of self and self-awareness, is an ourobouros of mind—both the will of fate, and the fated will—and the house of self-undoing is a prison built by prisoners, airless, door-less, and mortared from within.

These alterations come upon us irrevocably, as the hands of the clock-face come upon the hour.”
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries

Scott William Carter
“You become a great writer by writing lots and lots of stories, not by rewriting the same story over and over again.”
Scott William Carter

Michael Pollan
“...the grocery store poets do everything they can to encourage us in our willing suspension of disbelief.”
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Chila Woychik
“Every once in a bestseller list, you come across a truly exceptional craftsman, a wordsmith so adept at cutting, shaping, and honing strings of words that you find yourself holding your breath while those words pass from page to eye to brain. You know the feeling: you inhale, hold it, then slowly let it out, like one about to take down a bull moose with a Winchester .30-06. You force your mind to the task, scope out the area, take penetrating aim, and . . . read.
But instead of dropping the quarry, you find you’ve become the hunted, the target. The projectile has somehow boomeranged and with its heat-sensing abilities (you have raised a sweat) darts straight towards you. Duck! And turn the page lest it drill between your eyes.”
Chila Woychik, On Being a Rat and Other Observations

Michael Pollan
“The dangerous pileup of modifiers is a hallmark of Joel's rhetorical style.”
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Chloe Thurlow
“There is only one secret to great writing and that's great writing.”
Chloe Thurlow, Katie in Love

Michael Pollan
“...-compost is trucked in; some crops also receive fish emulsion along with their water and a side dressing of pelleted chicken manure. Over the winter a cover crop of legumes is planted to build up nitrogen in the soil.”
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

“On the drive over, Richards kept marveling at the transforming power of having a felony to commit. His brother looked more like his "normal" self now than at any time in the previous weeks, that is, like a calm, basically reasonable individual, a manly sort of fellow with a certain presence. They talked about Richards' daughter and along other noncontroversial lines. At the airport Richards stood by quietly, if nervously, while Joel transacted his business at the ticket counter, then passed a blue daypack, containing the kilo of cocaine among other things, through the security x-ray. Richards had planned to stop right here--just say good-bye, go outside and start to breathe again--but for some reason he followed his brother through the checkpoint. In silence they proceeded down a broad, sparsely peopled corridor; Joel, with his daypack slung casually over one shoulder, a cigarette occupying his other hand, had given Richards his fiddle case to carry.
Soon they became aware of a disturbance up ahead: a murmurous roar, a sound like water surging around the piles of a pier. The corridor forked and they found themselves in a broad lobby, which was jammed now with Hawaiian travelers, prospective vacationers numbering in the hundreds.

Just as they arrived, a flight attendant, dressed like a renter of cabanas on the beach at Waikiki, picked up a mike and made the final announcement to board. In response to which, those travelers not already on their feet, not already formed in long, snaky line three or four people abreast, arose. The level of hopeful chatter, of sweetly anticipatory human excitement, increased palpably, and Richards, whose response to crowds was generally nervous, self-defensively ironic, instinctively held back. But his brother plunged right in--took up a place at the front of the line, and from this position, with an eager, good-natured expression on his face, surveyed his companions.

Now the line started to move forward quickly. Richards, inching along on a roughly parallel course, two or three feet behind his brother, sought vainly for something comical to say, some reference to sunburns to come, Bermuda shorts, Holiday Inn luaus, and the like.

Joel, beckoning him closer, seemed to want the fiddle case back. But it was Richards himself whom he suddenly clasped, held to his chest with clumsy force. Wordlessly embracing, gasping like a couple of wrestlers, they stumbled together over a short distance full of strangers, and only as the door of the gate approached, the flight attendant holding out a hand for boarding passes, did Richards' brother turn without a word and let him go.”
Robert Roper, Cuervo Tales

James Scudamore
“It wasn't so much that my mother always had to have her own way; it was more that if you disagreed with her, the rhetorical power this unleashed would shock you into seeing things from her point of view. The minute she sensed resistance, all of her intellect would be summoned into an irresistible arrowhead of purpose, and the most sensible strategic approach was therefore never to disagree with her too forcefully.”
James Scudamore, The Amnesia Clinic

“On the drive over, Richards kept marveling at the transforming power of having a felony to commit. His brother looked more like his "normal" self now than at any time in the previous weeks, that is, like a calm, basically reasonable individual, a manly sort of fellow with a certain presence. They talked about Richards' daughter and along other noncontroversial lines. At the airport Richards stood by quietly, if nervously, while Joel transacted his business at the ticket counter, then passed a blue daypack, containing the kilo of cocaine among other things, through the security x-ray. Richards had planned to stop right here--just say good-bye, go outside and start to breathe again--but for some reason he followed his brother through the checkpoint. In silence they proceeded down a broad, sparsely peopled corridor; Joel, with his daypack slung casually over one shoulder, a cigarette occupying his other hand, had given Richards his fiddle case to carry.
Soon they became aware of a disturbance up ahead: a murmurous roar, a sound like water surging around the piles of a pier. The corridor forked and they found themselves in a broad lobby, which was jammed now with Hawaiian travelers, prospective vacationers numbering in the hundreds.
Just as they arrived, a flight attendant, dressed like a renter of cabanas on the beach at Waikiki, picked up a mike and made the final announcement to board. In response to which, those travelers not already on their feet, not already formed in long, snaky line three or four people abreast, arose. The level of hopeful chatter, of sweetly anticipatory human excitement, increased palpably, and Richards, whose response to crowds was generally nervous, self-defensively ironic, instinctively held back. But his brother plunged right in--took up a place at the front of the line, and from this position, with an eager, good-natured expression on his face, surveyed his companions.
Now the line started to move forward quickly. Richards, inching along on a roughly parallel course, two or three feet behind his brother, sought vainly for something comical to say, some reference to sunburns to come, Bermuda shorts, Holiday Inn luaus, and the like.
Joel, beckoning him closer, seemed to want the fiddle case back. But it was Richards himself whom he suddenly clasped, held to his chest with clumsy force. Wordlessly embracing, gasping like a couple of wrestlers, they stumbled together over a short distance full of strangers, and only as the door of the gate approached, the flight attendant holding out a hand for boarding passes, did Richards' brother turn without a word and let him go.”
Robert Roper, Cuervo Tales

Don Carpenter
“They grew some of their own vegetables, but Semple was never in eighteen years allowed out into the truck gardens. Instead, he watched out the north window of the violent ward through the thick cyclone mesh and felt himself out there, going down the rows of corn, cutting suckers or tugging up the dark-leafed weeds, feeling the strain low in his back and hearing the dry rustle of stalks in the July wind; the sun reddening his neck and rills of sweat cutting lines through the dust on his cheeks; bent over, his hands green stained and sore, blistered and cut from the weeds and the sharp-edged corn plant leaves; feet hot and swollen in state-issue shoes cracked and dirty; but smelling it, the corn, the dirt, the hand-mashed weeds, the sticky white milk gumming and clotting his fingers; the smell on cloudy days when everything was heavy with the expectancy of rain and sullen with the summer heat, the smell denser then, making him straighten up, his nose high, waiting for it, for something, a man in silhouette against the background of corn, like all the other men in cornfields and gardens and on farms, even the men in cities between the buildings on crowded streets lifting their noses to the heavy clouds and feeling the expectancy of the rain, waiting for the first thick drops to sound against the corn, to strike his face. And then the gallop home through sheets of rain, ducking into doorways, newspapers over heads, laughter coming up out of the heart at this common happening, and men together, in doorways, cafeterias, kitchens, barns, tractor sheds, or even in the lee of haystacks, looking at each other happily with wet red faces because it was raining hard. Loving it and feeling joy from such a thing. He stood at the window and made it happen, even under a blue sky. And would, early in his eighteen years, turn front eh window expressing how he felt in snapping wild-eyed growls and grunts, his hands jerking out of control and his legs falling out from under him, thrashing between the beds, bumping along the floors, his contorted face frightening the other madmen into shrieks and fits and dribbles; happy, so happy inside that it all burst in one white hot uncontrollable surge; the two white-coated attendants coming with their stockings full of powdered soap rolled into fists to club him without marking him, knocking him into enough submission that they could drag him twitching still across the open floor and out to the restraining sheets.”
Don Carpenter, Blade Of Light

Don Carpenter
“They grew some of their own vegetables, but Semple was never in eighteen years allowed out into the truck gardens. Instead, he watched out the north window of the violent ward through the thick cyclone mesh and felt himself out there, going down the rows of corn, cutting suckers or tugging up the dark-leafed weeds, feeling the strain low in his back and hearing the dry rustle of stalks in the July wind; the sun reddening his neck and rills of sweat cutting lines through the dust on his cheeks; bent over, his hands green stained and sore, blistered and cut from the weeds and the sharp-edged corn plant leaves; feet hot and swollen in state-issue shoes cracked and dirty; but smelling it, the corn, the dirt, the hand-mashed weeds, the sticky white milk gumming and clotting his fingers; the smell on cloudy days when everything was heavy with the expectancy of rain and sullen with the summer heat, the smell denser then, making him straighten up, his nose high, waiting for it, for something, a man in silhouette against the background of corn, like all the other men in cornfields and gardens and on farms, even the men in cities between the buildings on crowded streets lifting their noses to the heavy clouds and feeling the expectancy of the rain, waiting for the first thick drops to sound against the corn, to strike his face. And then the gallop home through sheets of rain, ducking into doorways, newspapers over heads, laughter coming up out of the heart at this common happening, and men together, in doorways, cafeterias, kitchens, barns, tractor sheds, or even in the lee of haystacks, looking at each other happily with wet red faces because it was raining hard. Loving it and feeling joy from such a thing. He stood at the window and made it happen, even under a blue sky. And would, early in his eighteen years, turn from the window expressing how he felt in snapping wild-eyed growls and grunts, his hands jerking out of control and his legs falling out from under him, thrashing between the beds, bumping along the floors, his contorted face frightening the other madmen into shrieks and fits and dribbles; happy, so happy inside that it all burst in one white hot uncontrollable surge; the two white-coated attendants coming with their stockings full of powdered soap rolled into fists to club him without marking him, knocking him into enough submission that they could drag him twitching still across the open floor and out to the restraining sheets.”
Don Carpenter, Blade Of Light