As some wise man once said (and I quote),
"The trivia and miscellaneous quotes we ponder are the flotsam and jetsam, the Heckle and Jeckle, the Chip and Dale, the Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the Click and Clack, the Ralph and Alice, the Gidget and Moondoggie, the Barbie and Ken, the Don and Phil, the Mickey and Minnie, the Roy and Dale, the Bogie and Bacall, the Bill and Hill, the Paul and Paula, the Marvin and Tammy, the John, Paul, George and Ringo of our minds that we now, as writers, finally, have a use for. What was once inconsequential is now essential."Why did he say this? How could he say this? He knew that there is nothing in a writer's mind, be it like a well-run warehouse or like a basement in need of organization, that is unimportant. It is all material. All the time you thought you were wasting can now be put to good use. And the more specific detail you can remember, the better. To facilitate this and to add to the incredible compost of our minds, Ringer's Secret School of Writing would like to provide this page and its contents as a public service.
Sometimes, writers write and readers read, “to escape the constrictions of civilization, redraw its boundaries, decalcify its customs, or revive the writer’s or reader’s own spirits by dancing on its debris."
---Walter Kirn, reviewing How Fiction Works, by James Woods, in the NY Times
I listen to the voices. ---William Faulkner
I don't wait to be struck by lightning and don't need certain slants of light to write.
Fiction's attention is toward what is tangible; yet it exists most effectively when its themes are unspoken.
-- James Wood
I'll never forget the day I read a book
It was contagious
There were pictures here and there
So it wasn't hard to bear
The day I read a book
It wasn't a history
Because it had no plot
It wasn't a mystery
Because nobody there got shot
One day I read a book
I can't remember when
But one of these days
I'm going to do it again
--- Jimmy Durante
Literature is the question minus the answer.
A book ought to be an icepick to break up the frozen sea within us.
Rule Seventeen. Omit needless words. Omit needless words. Omit needless words.
---William Strunk Jr.
Get up offa that thing. Dance and you’ll feel better. ---James Brown
It's all creative lying, like perjuring yourself on the witness stand; it all has to hold together. Technically, a novel is a very tough thing to make work.
Since we must and do write each our own way, we may during actual writing get more lasting instruction not from another's work, whatever its blessings, however better it is than ours; but from our own poor scratched-over pages. For these we hold up to life. That is, we are born with a mind and heart to hold each page up to, and to ask: is it valid?
Most good writers didn't answer the demands of an audience, they created a whole new one. And that's what you should aspire to.
Talking about books is the last thing I would think to do in real life.
My hope is that when you finish the last page of this book, or any book, there is a sense of having experienced a whole life or a constellation of lives; that something has been preserved which, if the book hadn't been written, would have been lost, like most lives are.
The novelist who refuses sentiment refuses the full spectrum of human behavior, and then he just dries up. Irony is always scratching your tired ass, whatever way you look at it. I would rather give full vent to all human loves and disappointments, and take a chance on being corny, than die a smartass.
I wish I had a drawerful of ideas like other writers.
Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader - not the fact that it's raining, but the feel of being rained upon.
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