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Writing Quotes

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

To help inspire everyone:

(I'd planned to include photos I've collected with embedded quotes, but the SOL forum doesn't support it, so instead I'll simply type in each quote.)

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it. - Mark Twain

Crumbly Writer

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see them. - Orson Scott Card

(somehow, I feel a little 'wheat from the chaff' comment needs to be added here.) ;)

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Most people look at what surrounds them, but they don't "see" what they are looking at. A good writer is someone who looks at something and sees the potential for a story.

Replies:   awnlee_jawking  Not_a_ID
awnlee_jawking

@REP

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it. - Mark Twain


Didn't what Mark Twain left out of 'Tom Sawyer' become 'Huckleberry Finn'?

AJ

Replies:   REP
ustourist

Also a problem with some stories, which needs to be addressed.

In general, throughout the work, what is new is not good; and what is good is not new.

Rev.Sherlock or Dr.Johnson

Switch Blayde
Updated:

"As to the Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out." - Mark Twain

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." - Mark Twain

Replies:   awnlee jawking
REP

@awnlee_jawking

Did you confuse me with someone else?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@REP

Unless you're an unexpected alias of Crumbly Writer, then yes. Obviously I clicked on the wrong 'reply' symbol, despite choosing the correct text to quote.

Whether you're flattered or insulted I'll leave up to you ;)

AJ

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

"As to the Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out." - Mark Twain


Obviously that predated "Show, don't tell".

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

"As to the Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out." - Mark Twain

Obviously that predated "Show, don't tell".


Actually, that had to do with flowery description (what's called today as purple prose).

He actually had another quote about "show don't tell," but I didn't use it because of all the negative opinions here about that. His quote is:

"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

In that case he was ahead of his time.

Didn't Mark Twain also write some science fiction, or has my single braincell got its wires crossed?

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Didn't Mark Twain also write some science fiction


I have no idea.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking


Didn't Mark Twain also write some science fiction


check it out

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain_bibliography

but this may count

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

but this may count

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

While it may not technically be sci-fi, it was the first do-over/time travel story.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

While it may not technically be sci-fi, it was the first do-over/time travel story.


Time travel yes, do-over no.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

"Time travel yes, do-over no."

Based on Wikipedia, it wasn't the first time travel story, either.
"While Connecticut Yankee is sometimes credited as the foundational work in the time travel subgenre of science fiction, Twain's novel had several important immediate predecessors. Among them are H.G. Wells's story "The Chronic Argonauts" (1888), which was a precursor to The Time Machine (1895). Also published the year before Connecticut Yankee was Edward Bellamy's wildly popular Looking Backward (1888), in which the protagonist is put into a hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes up in the year 2000. Yet another American novel that could have served as a more direct inspiration to Twain was The Fortunate Island (1882) by Charles Heber Clark. In this novel, a technically proficient American is shipwrecked on an island that broke off from Britain during Arthurian times, and never developed any further."

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Based on Wikipedia, it wasn't the first time travel story, either.


I wasn't commenting on whether or not Conneticut Yankee was or wasn't first. It isn't a do-over story, first last or anywhere in between.

Crumbly Writer

Here's one that's very true for me, as my stories frequently interrupt my sleep, demanding I do something about a sudden story idea.

I don't need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.

Ray Bradbury

REP

@awnlee jawking

Whether you're flattered or insulted I'll leave up to you ;)


More surprised than anything.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


He actually had another quote about "show don't tell," but I didn't use it because of all the negative opinions here about that. His quote is:

"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."


Accepting temporarily for the sake of argument that using shouted or screamed as a dialog tag is telling, the question becomes how does one show shouting/screaming?

Any words can be spoken at any volume, so no words within the dialog can ever show shouting/screaming.

Something can be exclaimed at a normal conversational volume, or even whispered, so an exclamation point does not show shouting/screaming.

What's left? All caps? Bold text?

What if the intent is an inarticulate scream?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

What if the intent is an inarticulate scream?

I think the point was more "let her rant" and let the readers see her anger, rather than merely stating "she screamed". It wasn't as much about showing as it was allowing the characters to have center stage, rather than the author.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

It wasn't as much about showing as it was allowing the characters to have center stage, rather than the author.


That is showing.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I think the point was more "let her rant" and let the readers see her anger, rather than merely stating "she screamed".


Anger does not inherently imply screaming, nor does screaming inherently imply anger.

Even if a character goes of on a rant in dialog, nothing in the text of the dialog can imply anything about the volume or tone of voice in which the words are spoken.

Nothing in your reply addresses the issue of an inarticulate scream, which is more likely to result from fear, pain or surprise than from anger.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Dominions Son

You interpreted "scream" to mean "shout." Crumbly interpreted it as to carry on, like a rant or to be angry.

Writing is not math. It's not black and white. That's one reason "showing" is so hard to define/describe/explain.

But Crumbly hit the nail on the head. The author tells. The story shows.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


You interpreted "scream" to mean "shout."


That is it's primary meaning.

Crumbly interpreted it as to carry on, like a rant or to be angry.


I have never heard scream used that way except in meaning to do so very loudly. It is very possible to carry on, rant and be angry quietly. So, no, they are not reasonably interchangeable.

That's one reason "showing" is so hard to define/describe/explain.


And until someone manages to define/describe/explain how you show volume/tone of voice in text without using the appropriate words, I'm not going to accept claims that using the appropriate words to indicate volume/tone of voice isn't showing.

So far neither you nor CW have come within a million light years of a reasonable explanation.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


That is showing.


My point was, it predates the entire notion of "showing vs. telling", and it centers around focus, rather than specific techniques (which hadn't been fully developed and centralized yet).

@D.S.

So far neither you nor CW have come withing a million light years of a reasonable explanation.


My argument was, despite the phrase "shout", I interpreted the quote to mean "show the character's emotions" rather than literally "show her shouting" (which is essentially telling).

Back before everyone started lecturing authors on 'show don't tell', Twain hit the nail on the head, keeping his language short and sweet, which was his strength. I hardly think it's fair to weigh his advice based on 21st century writing styles and writing critiques developed over a century after he died (not that you can't critique his stories, but it's silly to criticize him for not using the currently ballyhooed terminology).

However, if you want to keep all advice literal, in every usage, then feel free to show your characters shouting all you want (for all the good it'll do you).

Replies:   Ross at Play
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."


Aunt Polly was really mad at Tom Sawyer and screamed at him.

-or-

Aunt Polly stormed into the kitchen where Tom Sawyer was munching on a sandwich. He ducked when she threw a bucket at his head.

"Tom, you bastard. What did you do?"

She stamped her foot and shook her fist in the air.

"You knocked her up, damn you! You got Becky Thatcher pregnant!"

Replies:   Dominions Son
richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

You interpreted "scream" to mean "shout." Crumbly interpreted it as to carry on, like a rant or to be angry.

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Neither.

The first implies an inarticulate scream as there is no dialog.

The second neither says nor implies anything about tone of voice or volume.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

The second neither says nor implies anything about tone of voice or volume.


If you think someone would say that in a normal voice, especially after they throw something at your head, you're missing out. I bet if it wasn't part of this discussion, but you were reading a novel, you would hear that person screaming without thinking about it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


If you think someone would say that in a normal voice, especially after they throw something at your head, you're missing out. I bet if it wasn't part of this discussion, but you were reading a novel, you would hear that person screaming without thinking about it.


I know a couple of people who speak more softly rather than yelling when they are angry. If they actually start to whisper, run.

Not everyone reacts to emotions the same way, not physically and not vocally.

It leave the reader to impose their own reactions on the characters, but that means all the characters react exactly the same way, and that make the story flatter, less interesting, and just less than it could have been.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

an inarticulate scream


That was my initial presumption. An articulate scream should be disambiguated by reporting the words.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

Getting back on topic ...

If you can't annoy somebody, there is little point in writing. - Kinglsey Amis

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

It leave the reader to impose their own reactions on the characters


Which is good. It makes the story their own. I wish I had the author quote (which would be on topic), but some author said he wrote a [huge number] of novels because each novel was different for every reader.

Back to Aunt Polly. She doesn't have to be screaming. If the reader sees her as whispering when she's mad, that's fine. The reader knows Aunt Polly is unhappy with Tom Sawyer and that's what the scene is about. The way the author builds the Aunt Polly character will help the reader determine if she's screaming or not when she's mad at Tom.

But if you don't trust the reader's reading comprehension, tell the reader she's screaming.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I hardly think it's fair to weigh his advice based on 21st century writing styles and writing critiques developed over a century after he died

It is fair to weigh 21st century writing styles against his advice from over a century ago.

He did not make the mistake, as many would now, of advising "Bring her on and let her say."

His advice was to 'tell' readers what actually happened.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

But if you don't trust the reader's reading comprehension


You're missing the point. It's not about the reader's reading comprehension.

All the reader can possibly do is superimpose their own reactions on every character.

You have given up an area in which character personalities can be developed and distinguished, and for no particularly good reason.

Crumbly Writer

In keeping with the new Trump presidency, here's one you don't hear often:

Once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.

Anton Chekhov

Crumbly Writer

I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.

Patrick Dennis

Crumbly Writer

One of my favorites:

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.

Toni Morrison

Crumbly Writer

"Know your literary tradition, savor it, but when you sit down to write, forget it."

Allegra Goodman

Ross at Play
Updated:

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

Ernest Hemingway

Ross at Play

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

E. L. Doctorow

Ross at Play

"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."

W. Somerset Maugham

Ross at Play

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."

Mark Twain

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play
Updated:

"The hardest thing about writing is not figuring out how to write what you want to say, it's figuring out how to not write what you want to avoid saying."

Ross at Play

Ross at Play

I have come across a website (www.brainyquote.com) which I am finding very useful for finding suitable quotes.
The database seems to be very large, and its search feature will return a lot of quotes containing two words, or one word but not another.

Replies:   sejintenej
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

So when you're inclined to write 'every', substitute 'edamn' and your editor will convert it to 'e' :)

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej

@Ross at Play

I have come across a website (www.brainyquote.com) which I am finding very useful for finding suitable quotes.

It's good but I fear it has been bowdlerised. Looked up a favourite American and it missed out:

-Is that a gun in you pocket or are you glad to see me?
-I like only two types of men - foreign and domestic
-I'm a one-man woman. One man at a time

and perhaps 19 more. You need a good script writer for one liners like that

Ross at Play

@sejintenej

It's good but I fear it has been bowdlerised.

Thanks for teaching me a useful new word.
Bowdlerise (vb) to remove parts of a book, play, etc. that may offend some people.
Named after a Dr Bowdler who produced a version of Shakespeare with all the "naughty bits" cut out.

I am pretty sure you are right.
It's list of topics includes inspirational, faith, Mother's Day, and gardening - but NOT sex, lust, breasts, ...

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

It's good but I fear it has been bowdlerised. Looked up a favourite American and it missed out:


There are three pages of Mae West quotes. Your middle example is there, in fact there are two versions of it.

Page 2
Personally, I like two types of men - domestic and foreign.

Page 3
I only like two kinds of men, domestic and imported.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

So when you're inclined to write 'every', substitute 'edamn' and your editor will convert it to 'e' :)


or make it into another cheese. lol

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I am pretty sure you are right.
It's list of topics includes inspirational, faith, Mother's Day, and gardening - but NOT sex, lust, breasts, ...

I'm also not crazy about their list of quotes. While large, it's highly limited to favorites (i.e. you're unlikely to find alternates to the classics). When I started using quotes in a previous book, and realized how difficult it was, I started collecting quotes. I'm now getting updates from one source that keeps popping up dozens of 'think positive' quotes (which don't help at all when writing fiction stories). :(

@DS

There are three pages of Mae West quotes. Your middle example is there, in fact there are two versions of it.

That's an issue with all the quote sites, as there's little way to verify the quotes. Many are incorrectly attributed (wrong author) and aren't accurate at that. Quotes.com is another, but it's difficult searching for the desired quotes.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

A good one to consider when readers respond differently to the same story.

No two persons ever read the same book

Edmund Wilson

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

That's an issue with all the quote sites, as there's little way to verify the quotes

I suspect this site just collects reported quoted, so is quite bad for including things that have been misquoted.
Still, I like being able to search for who said a particular quote using just a couple of key words.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

No two persons ever read the same book

Edmund Wilson


That might be the quote I was thinking of when I said every reader interprets the story differently (back to the Mark Twain quote about not telling the woman screamed into the room).

Crumbly Writer

From a Quorum discussion on "How to get better as a fiction writer":

Every writer has a million bad words in him, and you just have to write until they are all gone.

Ray Bradbury

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

Following on a theme from yesterday:

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Crumbly Writer

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.

Albert Einstein

awnlee jawking

"My readers are idiots. They'd be entertained by a ball of string."

Tess Brown


AJ

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

Apparently Tess Brown writes for cats. :)

Crumbly Writer

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

Ernest Hemingway

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

He left out Master Bader.

Crumbly Writer

A more generic, but still apt one:

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.

Rumi

Switch Blayde

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
– Stephen King

Switch Blayde

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
– Robert Benchley

Switch Blayde

A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it to be God.
– Sidney Sheldon

Switch Blayde

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
– Henry David Thoreau

Ernest Bywater

Writing quotes - simple, find a quote you like, write it where you want it, and give it the proper attribution.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Writing quotes - simple, find a quote you like, write it where you want it, and give it the proper attribution.

Correction: The proper literary term is "Epigraphs".

Generally, you just show the quote and the source ("Epigraph Author"), though you should list the specific source (publication, date, etc.) either in the Appendix or in the Attributions. For SOL, you can get away with simply listing who said it, but to be correct, you should create a final "attributions" appendix to the story. (I wonder how many SOL authors have done that?)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Not_a_ID
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

(I wonder how many SOL authors have done that?)


Good question! I tend to do it with the quote mentioned, be it a play, a statement, song lyrics, or from a book.

Not_a_ID

@REP

Most people look at what surrounds them, but they don't "see" what they are looking at. A good writer is someone who looks at something and sees the potential for a story.


Which also tends to turn into them going bat-fucking crazy with conspiracy theories and other stuff later in life. Which seems to be a particularly large hazard for military and/or political fiction writers.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

For SOL, you can get away with simply listing who said it, but to be correct, you should create a final "attributions" appendix to the story. (I wonder how many SOL authors have done that?)


I've seen dead tree publishers push out book titles where they just cite a name, and might rarely mention a publication in which the quote may be found. Never seen an appendix for them.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Which also tends to turn into them going bat-fucking crazy with conspiracy theories and other stuff later in life. Which seems to be a particularly large hazard for military and/or political fiction writers.

Don't forget us sci-fi authors. We're pretty conspiracy minded--though Trumps out conspiracies the most paranoid of us--as well as producing an American unimaginable to even the most 'out there' sci-fi scenarios!

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Not_a_ID  REP
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

Don't forget us sci-fi authors. We're pretty conspiracy minded


That gets lumped into political/military more often than not. As a lot of SciFi is set on a military spacecraft of on kind or another. They often include political elements as well(on a galactic, or at least solar system/planetary scale) to provide the opposition present in the story. ;)

There aren't that many SciFi stories I can think of off hand that are not one or the other, if not both.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

though Trumps out conspiracies the most paranoid of us--as well as producing an American unimaginable to even the most 'out there' sci-fi scenarios!

Somebody needs to revisit The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. ;)

REP

@Not_a_ID

Yeah, you take the chance and suffer the consequences later. :)

REP

@Crumbly Writer

Trumps out conspiracies the most paranoid of us


I read a comment about a Washington Post article about Trump's refusal to divest himself of his business interests costing the US taxpayer about $93,000 in hotel bills for the Secret Service agents and other Government workers who were required to accompany Eric Trump on a Trump Enterprise business trip.

In the typical social media comment that usually items other that the articles (yes we aren't the only ones who go off topic) one person posted a comment about keeping the pressure on Trump, so he will demonstrate to the world that it is him who is crazy, not the US.

Ross at Play

@REP

he will demonstrate to the world that it is him who is crazy, not the US.

That is not necessarily an either/or choice.
It looks more like a chicken/egg choice to me.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

There aren't that many SciFi stories I can think of off hand that are not one or the other, if not both.

In most of mine 'the authorities', (CIA, politicians, etc.) are the bad guys of the story.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@REP


In the typical social media comment that usually items other that the articles (yes we aren't the only ones who go off topic) one person posted a comment about keeping the pressure on Trump, so he will demonstrate to the world that it is him who is crazy, not the US.


I don't think there's much doubt around the world just which of us is nutz, but then, we were crazy enough to elect him, and batty enough to give him free reign.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

but then, we were crazy enough to elect him, and batty enough to give him free weign.


True. But the majority of the voters voted for someone else.

Ernest Bywater

While not exactly a writing quote, I think this one by Albert Einstein has a strong application to writing, especially in regards to quality of writing:

'The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.'

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Ernest Bywater

I'm a bigger fan of the Einstein one about only two things being infinite, the universe and stupidity, and he wasn't so sure about the whole infinite universe thing. ;)

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

I'm a bigger fan of the Einstein one about only two things being infinite, the universe and stupidity, and he wasn't so sure about the whole infinite universe thing. ;)

Einstein was a professor, and no doubt had endless students who couldn't follow the lecture who'd argue with alt-facts (ex: if I'm traveling at the speed of light and fire a pistol, wouldn't the bullet travel faster than light).

Short answer: No!

Replies:   REP  Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Not_a_ID


I'm a bigger fan of the Einstein one about only two things being infinite, the universe and stupidity, and he wasn't so sure about the whole infinite universe thing. ;)


Had to look it up to be sure:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Albert Einstein

Correction: According to Yale Book of Quotations, the earliest reference was from Robert Byrne, crediting Einstein in "637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said" (1990) but it's completely unverified (apocryphal).

Crumbly Writer

It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.

C.J. Cherryh

REP

@Crumbly Writer

Short answer: No!


The currently accepted theory is that nothing can exceed the speed of light.

Velocity is always measured relative to a specified point. Therefore, if the above theory is set aside to create your example, then since the person holding the gun is traveling faster than the speed of light. Thus, the relative velocity between the gun and person would be zero, so the gun is also traveling faster than the speed of light. If the gun were pointed in the direction directly away from the person's reference point, then the bullet's velocity relative to the gun would be added to the velocity of the person relative to his reference point. That means the bullet's velocity is higher than the person's velocity when measured in respect to the person's reference point.

Thus the answer should be yes, if we assume it is possible to exceed the speed of light.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Short answer: No!


As REP says, the accepted theory is that nothing can exceed the speed of light within this time / space continuum. However, there are theories that were something to attempt to exceed the speed of light it would cease to exist in this time / space continuum, and thus the answer is still no. Some theories have the object entering a sub-space, while same suggest an over-space, and others suggest the object will disintegrate during the attempt. Pick's ya number, and spin da dial.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Ernest Bywater

thus the answer is still no.


By ignoring the theory, the person creating the example is defining that for the purposes of the example it is possible to exceed the speed of light without a problem. Therefore within the limits defined for the example, the answer is YES.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ross at Play

@REP

The currently accepted theory is that nothing can exceed the speed of light.

Not really.
The currently accepted theory is that nothing with mass can ever reach the speed of light.
The bullet may get closer to the speed of light, but still not reach it.

Ernest Bywater

@REP

By ignoring the theory, the person creating the example is defining that for the purposes of the example it is possible to exceed the speed of light without a problem. Therefore within the limits defined for the example, the answer is YES.


You're assuming the propellant can operate at in an effective way at the current speed. Unproven if it will or won't at that speed.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@REP

The currently accepted theory is that nothing can exceed the speed of light.

No. As Ross said, the idea is that nothing can ever reach the speed of light. The closer you get, it becomes phenomenally more difficult. Not only does time slow as you speed up, but it takes much larger amounts of energy.

I made the point to illustrate the type of idiotic questions Einstein was continually faced with on a daily basis which likely generated the claim (the second of which was doubtful he ever made).

Replies:   REP  sejintenej
REP

@Ernest Bywater

You're assuming


True, and I am also assuming a lot of other thing that we don't know for fact if we were to ever exceed the speed of light, such as: can a person breathe or even move to squeeze a trigger at that speed?

REP

@Crumbly Writer

to illustrate the type of idiotic questions


I understand your intent, but your example has what appears to be an unstated assumption, and assuming the person phrasing the question was making the assumption the question is not idiotic.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

I don't quite agree with this, as I often have most of my plot worked out before I ever start writing, but it sure can feel like it.

Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by.

Ray Bradbury

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

No. As Ross said, the idea is that nothing can ever reach the speed of light. The closer you get, it becomes phenomenally more difficult. Not only does time slow as you speed up, but it takes much larger amounts of energy.

and mass approaches infinity hence your gun is impossible to operate and the gunman would be squeezed to virtually nothing

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play
Updated:

The most dangerous animal in the jungle, a failed writer.

From Midsomer Murders, episode 4 of series 6, 'A Tale of Two Hamlets'

Replies:   awnlee_jawking
awnlee_jawking

@Ross at Play

The most dangerous animal in the jungle, a failed writer.

From Midsomer Murders, episode 4 of series 6, 'A Tale of Two Hamlets'


But most writers are failed writers. How many earn enough even to recoup their costs? Only one person in my writers' group makes a profit and that's because they prostitute themselves by writing infomercials.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

and mass approaches infinity hence your gun is impossible to operate and the gunman would be squeezed to virtually nothing

I don't believe that's how mass increases (i.e. it gets fatter). Instead, the same mass volume becomes heavier.

The key is, we already know that certain objects already travel faster than light, since we've observed them, however, it's impossible to reach the speed of light, but you can't cross the speed of light threshold.

Crumbly Writer

Have I done this one yet?

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.

Mark Twain

Crumbly Writer

This one is definitely true. You don't see many twitter authors losing sleep over what they post.

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

Thomas Mann

Switch Blayde

"There is only one plot—things are not what they seem."
—Jim Thompson

Switch Blayde

Here's a cynical one:

People do not deserve to have good writing, they are so pleased with bad.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

People do not deserve to have good writing, they are so pleased with bad.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sounds like someone else competing against Stroke stories with works of 'literature'.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price.
- John Updike

(Although probably not thinking of self-publishing at the time.)

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Sounds like someone else competing against Stroke stories with works of 'literature'.


I consider 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to be of more benefit to society than 'Midnight's Children'.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I consider 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to be of more benefit to society than 'Midnight's Children'.

You can't underestimate the role that porn plays in the world. [Nearly] everyone jerks off, but only a few read the works of great literature, while even fewer actually understand them when they do. If you're complaining that the world 'doesn't get you', it's a good sign you need to realign your sights.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

The faster I write, the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.

Raymond Chandler

Replies:   Michael Loucks
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

I can't speak for the US, but Fifty Shades encouraged many UK couples to spice up their sex lives by trying new things. And it also encouraged aspiring writers by proving that complete nobodies can make it into the big time.

There were probably some benefits to the economy too. Printers, booksellers, dungeon builders, handcuff and riding crop manufacturers ;)

AJ

Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

The faster I write, the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.

Raymond Chandler


This. Very much this. I know EXACTLY what he's saying. I go to bed or take a walk if the writing is slow.

Crumbly Writer

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.

Eugene Ionesco
Playwright

Luckily, that also means they can deduct all their vacations as 'story research' (assuming they earn enough to warrant deductions). :)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

warrant deductions


the warrants and the deductions are in the police detective stories.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

the warrants and the deductions are in the police detective stories.

Normally, my typos are all mine. This time, however, it was M$ spell check, as it refused to recognize the correct spelling. (Why does anyone continue to use that piece of crap software anymore?)

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

(Why does anyone continue to use that piece of crap software anymore?)


Physician heal thyself - since you use it, you best answer it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Physician heal thyself - since you use it, you best answer it.

Since it's hard to turn off (always in your face), it's difficult to ignore. Every time I see a red flag, even when I know it's invalid, I try to address it. That's why I'll NEVER purchase another piece of hardware or software from M$! When my current Win7 computer dies, I'll switch over to all Mac.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Why does anyone continue to use that piece of crap software anymore?


Try Open Office or one of it's forks. They are free, and still better than MicroShit Word.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

hardware or software from M$! When my current Win7 computer dies, I'll switch over to all Mac.


There's a Windows version of Libre Office that uses it's own spell checker that's much better. The big advantage with Libre Office is it has versions for Windows and Unix and Linux and Mac, so it doesn't matter what your editors use as an OS they can use Libre Office on it.

https://www.libreoffice.org/

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

Try Open Office or one of it's forks. They are free, and still better than MicroShit Word.

I use OpenOffice and would recommend against others trying it!

A constant irritant is what happens when it auto-saves files you are working on. It freezes up until it has saved all open files, all keystrokes entered during that period are lost, and when it resumes the cursor is no longer where you think it is.
Far worse is when the operating systems reboots itself after an update is installed. Any auto-saves it may have had will be lost. Your files will be as they were the last time you manually saved them.
My assessment - it's free, but it's MacroShit!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

I use OpenOffice and would recommend against others trying it!


Open Office has never been the same since Oracle forced the key programmers to leave the Open Office Project to set up and write Libre Office. Wghen they first split they were like twins, but since then LO has improved time after time while the OO has gone down hill. One aspect of the original split was two wildly different philosophies on developing the software, and I think that's strongly affected how they've developed since then. Oracle was pushing toward a heavier Java code and proprietary level of code, while LO was pushing in the opposite direction.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Crumbly Writer

I've had OpenOffice around for years, though I don't use it regularly. I started using it at my church, to save them spending a monthly service charge, but haven't been able to get it to print, so I take everything home, convert it to M$ just to print it out, which is a complete waste of time.

However, like my sticking with Windows 7, I don't mind sticking with Office 10, I just refuse to 'upgrade' to a monthly subscription service when M$ offers NO new features worth the added cost.

Like OO, M$ keeps painting the shutters (the software's front end) but don't make any improvements to their living quarters, and their house is falling apart as a result.

On the other end, back when I was pulling down a decent salary, I couldn't afford Mac products though I admired them. Now that I'm not earning diddly, I can, but they're no longer as dedicated to quality to justify the high costs (as seen in their lack of support of professionals, publishing and graphics).

Capt. Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

leave the Open Office Project to set up and write Libre Office.


Fascinating. I had used OO years ago and StarOffice before that. I assumed OO and LO were just for different OS when I went back and of course chose the name I was familiar with. After reading a couple of comparisons, I will definitely be switching to LO!

REP

@Ernest Bywater

There's a Windows version of Libre Office


I downloaded Libre per your suggestion. I found it to be very similar to the earlier versions of Word. There are a number of differences that need to be learned.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I downloaded Libre per your suggestion. I found it to be very similar to the earlier versions of Word. There are a number of differences that need to be learned.

Alas, I installed OO simply because I had a couple editors who used it, and kept sending me my edited files formatted for OO. Guess I should switch over as well.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
rustyken

I used Open Office for a while then switched to Libre Office several years ago. I am quite happy with Libre Office and use it on both a Linux system and MAC. I don't remember seeing any significant difference between OO and LO when I switched but that was like vers 2 of LO. It is now vers 5. I do drop $10 or so in the Document Foundation till when down load a new copy.

Cheers

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP

I downloaded Libre per your suggestion. I found it to be very similar to the earlier versions of Word. There are a number of differences that need to be learned.


One of the things I like about LO is it's so much like pre-ribbon MS Word that I had no trouble switching over when I did it years ago. The biggest difference I've noticed is where MS Word has Margins PLUS Gutter in LO you set Inside Margin and Outside Margin. I find the use of the paragraph styles easier in LO than I did in MS Word when I sued to use it (from Word 1 up to Word for XP). I do love the One click button to create a PDF.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Alas, I installed OO simply because I had a couple editors who used it, and kept sending me my edited files formatted for OO. Guess I should switch over as well.


Both LO and OO use the Open Document formats so the files are fully interchangeable. Also, MS Word now opens Open Document Files in their latest couple of versions due o pressure from the US department of Admin Services.

Ernest Bywater

@rustyken

I don't remember seeing any significant difference between OO and LO when I switched but that was like vers 2 of LO.


When LO split they simply took the existing OO code with them because they were legally allowed to - heck the team who left wrote most of the recent changes before then. The split was over Oracle wanting to include more java code and embed their proprietary database as the database unit in the OO suite.

Very soon after the fork the LO team removed all code that Oracle might be able to claim, then they started replacing the java code with other code to make simplify the base code. They also started on a few tweaks to improve performance. I like how they're careful with enhancements and also listen to user input. The result is by the time they got to version 4.1 LO was a lot faster to load and run.

sejintenej

I have (free!) MS Office but use free WPS writer and spreadsheet. They look like MS Office but seem to use fewer resources. For me the big problem is the wide range of save formats - several Word formats plus others. Spellcheck and grammar check are available - you simply have to click the icon but it is your choice.
As for CW's (? CW - not going back to check) problem, I wonder if he has clicked to have spellcheck open fulltime. I used to use it at work and at that time you had the option. AFAIR you could have "wrong" spelling red underlined OR correct option offered immediately OR no indication until you ran spellcheck

For ME problem is I haven't found WPS foreign spellchecks it seems to use USA English
BTW I run W7 also

Crumbly Writer

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's work is all I can permit myself to complete.

John Steinbeck

Crumbly Writer

About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.

Josh Billings

You heard it here, folks, go out and steal a few good plotlines. 'D

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

You heard it here, folks, go out and steal a few good plotlines.

The same point was made by the actress Holly Marie Combs when she said:

Everything is a reboot [copied plot]. If you think otherwise you haven't read enough Shakespeare yet.

Crumbly Writer

OK, this is it. The last of my collection of writing quotes (don't ask about my 'chapter quotes' (dealing with a range of issues):

Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.

Virginia Woolf

Guess the rest of you will have to carry on without me (though I copy any others you find).

Crumbly Writer

Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We're not here to be comfortable—we're here, really, to shake things up. That's our job.

Jeanette Winterson

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

Every writer I know has trouble writing.

Joseph Heller

I doubt it's trouble writing, as it's feeling worthy of the story they're trying to tell. To do the story justice, we all try to be better than our fat little fingers warrant.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Crumbly Writer

Every writer I know has trouble writing.

Joseph Heller

Going with the above (or perhaps countering it):

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.
Margaret Atwood

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Writers are not here to conform.


Up yours, grammarians and style guiders!

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Up yours, grammarians and style guiders!

As I keep saying. It's fine to break rules and guidelines, but you can't do it blindly. You've got to understand why things are done a certain way, to fully understand the risks when you try something else. Otherwise, you'll fall headfirst into the same hole everyone else has.

You have to understand the grammar and guides before you violate them. Once you do, you have no one to blame if you fail but yourself.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


You have to understand the grammar and guides before you violate them.


I think AJ was being facetious with his comment, "Up yours, grammarians and style guiders!"
I've edited enough of his writing to assure you your remark was 'preaching to the choir'.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I think AJ was being facetious with his comment, "Up yours, grammarians and style guiders!"

I've edited enough of his writing to assure you your remark was 'preaching to the choir'.

That's what I assumed. However, the problem with 'preaching to the choir', is that you frequently lose the audience, which is who you're trying to reach. By not addressing the issue, newer authors may not realize the dangers involved in rushing ahead with whichever new ideas story idea they dream up, rather than tempering their more impulsive ideas. (I've done that often enough myself, and I've always been cautious about trying radical new things.)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

By not addressing the issue, newer authors may not realize the dangers

As usual, the thought you put into your serious posts is appreciated, and I'll never complain about someone attempting to be humorous - when that intention is clear. AJ was not clear for his post - but I need to be cautious about naming the colour of that kettle.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I've edited enough of his writing to assure you your remark was 'preaching to the choir'.


Whether that remark is complimentary or not, I think it's worth pointing out that Ross and I have differing philosophies when editing the works of others. I give more import to preserving the author's voice than style guides or grammar.

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Whether that remark is complimentary or not ...
I give more import to preserving the author's voice than style guides or grammar.

It was meant as a compliment - knowing what's in the monsters well enough for your creativity to be effective when violating them.
I would not say "more import". I am still struggling a bit to know what's in the monsters well enough to fully assist authors in using their creativity effectively when violating them.
I am convinced authors need to be consistently adhering to some standard, any standard, for the times they don't adhere to them to have the desired effect on readers.
I am still learning. I did only write my first word of fiction less than one year ago.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I give more import to preserving the author's voice than style guides or grammar.

The way I read that is you think I do not consider "preserving the author's voice" more important than "style guides or grammar".
That would not be true.
Preserving the author's voice is one of a list of things I consider more important.
Other things in that list include:
* The context I am considering justifies some sort of non-standard approach
* The most common everyday usage is technically incorrect
* Adhering to any style the author is known to use in similar situations.
In fact, style guides or grammar are nothing more than the default when I can see no other compelling reason to guide my choice.

I also assume that authors are not complete morons, and they know what I consider important is completely irrelevant.
I should not guess what the author wants their voice to be, unless I know the style they want quite well. Instead, I try for consistency in my recommendations, knowing full well authors will overrule me when what others would most commonly do is not what they are seeking.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I try for consistency in my recommendations


Which is the purpose of a style guide, whether it be one of the ones we've puked over here or one made up by the author/editor even if it's not formally typed up.

If the author/editor decides to identify interrupted speech with a @# that's fine (although I doubt the reader would understand it). But if they use the @# sometimes, an emdash sometimes, and an ellipsis other times, they have no consistency and that is inexcusable.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I give more import to preserving the author's voice than style guides or grammar.

There's a little more to a 'writer's voice' than their selection of grammar or punctuation, but most authors will allow an author to chose their own style, as I keep repeating, as long as they recognize which is correct. As long as they don't choose something out of ignorance, few editors will insist they change it.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

most authors will allow an author to chose their own style

I think you mis-typed, and meant:
most editors will allow an author to chose their own style

Ross at Play

A recent example I had was an author for whom English is their second language had:
We had failed, big time.
What they had failed to do was impart their high moral standards to their daughter.

I said, "Change that to: We have failed, big time."
They questioned me insisting they had the right tense.

My answer:
What you had is 100% correct - but 100% of native speakers would get lazy about their tenses when saying this, and they would say "have".

The poor bugger, how could they possibly guess that one right.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I also assume that authors are not complete morons, and they know what I consider important is completely irrelevant.

The role of the editor is to point out issues. It's up to the author to decide whether the suggestions fit into their story. Sometimes authors go off into left field, though, and often times, professional authors will ask that their names be taken off their books, lest their valuable reputation is tarnished. More commonly though, authors will ignore advice, and then list the editor so readers (and other authors) will judge their works based on the actions of someone who's not sure what they're doing.

That's why give and take is so important. Generally, the author submits something, and the editor responds. When the author says, "I prefer to do this", if it's important enough, the editor will come back, reminding them of why the selection is problematic. If the author decides to pursue it anyway, then it's the author's call. However, if the author violates enough standards, many editors will just throw their hands up and say, "I'm not sure we can continue to work together, as our styles seem to be in conflict."

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

What you had is 100% correct - but 100% of native speakers would get lazy about their tenses when saying this, and they would say "have".


I'm not so sure the issue is entirely native speakers being lazy about tenses.

As a matter of perspective, where the failure is "they had failed to do was impart their high moral standards to their daughter".

One could take the view that while the failure has happened over a long period of time, it is still on going so present tense is not inappropriate.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

One could take the view that while the failure has happened over a long period of time, it is still on going so present tense is not inappropriate.

The precise context was the character in a state of shock just after finding his daughter having sex.
The character was reflecting back. What they had done in the past had not worked.
I could not argue the author's understanding of grammar (this needs the past perfect tense) was not spot on, it was just in my experience people do not express that sentiment in that way.

Crumbly Writer

If a book is well written, I always find it too short.

Jane Austen

And the corollary, terribly written books go on forever! :(

Crumbly Writer

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.

Harper Lee

Crumbly Writer

Two for one night at Dictionary.com ...

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.

Maya Angelou

Hint: That's why you keep revising sentences, removing the non-essential components, so the words flow through the brain like honey on the tongue (talking mixed metaphors).

Crumbly Writer

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.

J.K. Rowling

Quick, President Trump is hemorrhaging from the Times quotes, deliver an appropriate restorative quote. Stat, before his head explodes in more tweets! 'D

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

Famous post-mortem words:

I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.

Anne Frank

Crumbly Writer

Something to remember on your next trip to the toilet!

Wherever you go, you meet part of your story.

Eudora Welty

REP

@Crumbly Writer

before his head explodes in more tweets!


I have to agree. There is so much hot air in there that it might create a massive explosion that would flatten Washington DC.

On second thought, withhold the restorative quote for flattening Washington might be a good idea. :)

Ross at Play
Updated:

From the not-so-good end of the writing scale there is a type of pun called 'Tom Swifties', where the punchline is an adverb.
Some examples:
"I am an artist," he said easily.
"I need pizza now," he said crustily.
"I'm the Venus de Milo," she said disarmingly.
"I dropped my hat," he said, crestfallen.
"I dress with style," he said gaily.
"I adore designing bouquets," she said floridly.
"I really want it," he said urgently.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

From the not-so-good end of the writing scale there is a type of pun called 'Tom Swifties',


I don't find these remarks amusing, he said swiftly.

Crumbly Writer

People do not deserve to have good writing, they are so pleased with bad.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm guessing he said this after a few particularly bad reviews.

Crumbly Writer

There is only one plot—things are not what they seem.

Jim Thompson

Crumbly Writer

"If you can quit, quit. If you can't, you're a writer." - R.A. Salvatore

Switch Blayde

Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words

- Mark Twain

Switch Blayde

"Never use a long word where a short one will do."

- George Orwell

Switch Blayde

"The writer's job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them."

- Vladimir Nabokov

Switch Blayde

"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do."

- Thomas Jefferson

Switch Blayde

"You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page."

- Jodi Picoult

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can't allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative."

- Elmore Leonard

Revised: Added a new, more detailed Leonard quote, expanding on the topic.

Crumbly Writer

"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."

- Niel Gaiman

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say."

- Anaïs Nin

Crumbly Writer

"When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature."

- Ernest Hemingway

Maybe, but when discussing writing, it's easier to describe characters than it is to refer to "living people". :

Crumbly Writer

Since we were discussing "minimalism":

"Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life."

- Hunter S. Thompson"

He must have meant it, since he 'minimalized' his lifespan!

Crumbly Writer

"You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club."

- Jack London

Crumbly Writer

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."

- Ray Bradbury

Crumbly Writer

"Write drunk, edit sober."

- Ernest Hemingway

Crumbly Writer

@Crumbly Writer

And, given one of my favorite writing themes, one of my favorites:

"Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings."

Stephen King

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

"Write drunk, edit sober."
- Ernest Hemingway

I have become resigned over the last year to the fact I'll never finish more than an occasional short story. Now I know why!
- the head-case who had his last drink in 1988

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Kill your darlings


The writing course junkies in my writers' group keep spouting that, so it's obviously been drummed into them from multiple sources, but like most aphorisms I think it's too simplistic.

If authors write a scene which they really enjoy reading back, then it's worth including it in the final story even if it doesn't gel with a nice, orderly structure, because other readers will surely enjoy it too.

I think it's trumped by 'write what you want to read'.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

The writing course junkies in my writers' group keep spouting that, so it's obviously been drummed into them from multiple sources, but like most aphorisms I think it's too simplistic.

I know that's how it's often interpreted, but given King's penchant for dark stories, I take it more literally (i.e. don't be afraid to kill your characters off if it's necessary for the development of your plot).

Like you, I'd question removing the more popular parts of your story just to fit into what someone else considers the 'ideal story' (i.e. one written for fifth-graders, who likely won't purchase as many books in their lifetime, as the typical reader purchases in a year).

You may need to sell to fifth graders if you're trying to sell several million copies (after all, on that scale, you need to sell many which never make it off the owners' shelves), but it's unlikely to improve sales for the vast majority of authors. I've found, all the advice for selling fall flat for those who sell less than thousands of each book (and probably extends at least to tens of thousands, as well).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


"Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings."


The one time I had this come up in a writer's meeting I was part of they made it clear the advice did not refer to characters, but was referencing favorite words or phrases you over used in your writing. The intent being to cut back on words and phrases you've been using to an excessive extent.

It's the realisation of the extent I used the words and - as - but that started my last round of revisions to replace many of them with alternatives so a sentence didn't have three or four of them in it.

edit to add: one author I recently read had a story with characters from all over the USA and even England, and all of them used a lot of common phrases you hear people from where he grew up use - anymore, y'all are the two that comes to mind. OK, a person from Alabama may use them, but not visitor from London. It's these things the advice is about.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

It's the realisation of the extent I (overused certain) words

I give this advice to all authors I work with about all kinds of overuse problems ...
Do not strive to correct any overuse problem, instead strive to over-correct for the problem: correct it until you bleed!
My experience is that if you attempt to correct something you know you overuse to a level that feels correct to you, you will still be overusing it. The only way you'll get close to a normal level is by only leaving those uses when you feel there is no acceptable alternative.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

The one time I had this come up in a writer's meeting I was part of they made it clear the advice did not refer to characters, but was referencing favorite words or phrases you over used in your writing.


That may be their interpretation, but considering that the original source of the quote is the biggest name in Psycho Slasher Horror novels, I'm not sure I buy it.

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

the advice did not refer to characters, but was referencing favorite words or phrases you over used in your writing.


I'm familiar with a more far-reaching interpretation. For example, an author asked the group's help for restructuring their story. One of the two protagonists had a long and detailed back story, including lots of details from the author's own experience. The consensus was to 'kill the darling', get rid of the exposition dump represented by the back story, and drip feed in snippets as it became relevant.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I know that's how it's often interpreted, but given King's penchant for dark stories, I take it more literally (i.e. don't be afraid to kill your characters off if it's necessary for the development of your plot).


Except King wasn't the first to give that advice. The most common one is William Faulkner, but what I found on Google is the author "Arthur Quiller-Couch, who spread it in his widely reprinted 1913-1914 Cambridge lectures 'On the Art of Writing.' In his 1914 lecture 'On Style,' he said, while railing against 'extraneous Ornament':

"If you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: 'Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings."

I'm sure King didn't mean it to kill off your characters.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

There's a business world variant too, applying to conglomerates which eg keep an underperforming division for sentimental reasons, perhaps because it was the founder's original business.

AJ

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

It's the realisation of the extent I used the words and - as - but that started my last round of revisions to replace many of them with alternatives so a sentence didn't have three or four of them in it.

Hence the French classical concept of not using a word twice on the same page. Just checked a sample page of 32 lines 8 - 10 words per line and the only words repeated were a, the and one (the numeral). He even found many ways of expressing the negative - incredible.

edit to add: one author I recently read had a story with characters from all over the USA and even England, and all of them used a lot of common phrases you hear people from where he grew up use - anymore, y'all are the two that comes to mind. OK, a person from Alabama may use them, but not visitor from London. It's these things the advice is about.

A visitor from London might well say "you all" (as in "I'm happy to see you all") but he/she would clearly pronounce it as two separate words - not like certain Americans.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

Hence the French classical concept of not using a word twice on the same page.


Modern thinking is that sometimes it's acceptable - using 'said' for example, for which repeated use is less intrusive than esoteric synonyms.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Modern thinking is that sometimes it's acceptable - using 'said' for example, for which repeated use is less intrusive than esoteric synonyms.


only in some circles.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I'm familiar with a more far-reaching interpretation. For example, an author asked the group's help for restructuring their story. One of the two protagonists had a long and detailed back story, including lots of details from the author's own experience. The consensus was to 'kill the darling', get rid of the exposition dump represented by the back story, and drip feed in snippets as it became relevant.

Again, every time someone repeats the quote, they're interpreting it to mean something different. Without the full original interview, it's essentially meaningless. It sounds great, but without context, you don't know how to interpret it.

Crumbly Writer

The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer. And the joy of writing, when you're writing from your subconscious, is beautiful—it's thrilling. When you're editing, which is your conscious mind, it's like torture.

- Steve Martin

Crumbly Writer

You don't write because you want to say something ...
you write because you have something to say.

- F. Scott Fitzgerald

In either case, for many of us, there's no shutting us up once we start! 'D

Crumbly Writer

Write like it matters, and it will.

- Libba Bray

Conversely, write like you don't care what anyone thinks, and no one will.

Crumbly Writer

You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.

- Saul Bellow

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

A day will come when the story inside you will want to breath on its own.

That's when you'll start writing.

- Sarah Noffke


Personally, I never really start a new book until it reaches that point, which is why I often sit on stories for months before writing more than vague notes.

Crumbly Writer

Treat all your secondary characters like they think the book's about them.

- Jocelyn Hughes

The job of a writer is not to convey emotion but to invoke it.

- Eric T. Benoit

Writing teaches writing.
No one can teach you your own secret.

- Gail Sher

"To me, the greatest pleasure of writing isn't what it's about, but the inner music that words make."

~ Truman Capote

And since I'm such a lousy poet, for me, it's not the plot, but what the story conveys to the reader about their own lives. That's the inner music of my words.

I may have already posted this one, as it seems familiar, so I'm sure I posted it somewhere.

"Hard writing makes easy reading. Easy writing makes hard reading."

~ William Zinsser

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect."

~ Anaïs Nin

Anaïs has always been one of my favorite authors. I've never read a passage from her books which I didn't love!

And finally:

"I write because I must. It's not a choice or a pastime, it's an unyeilding calling and my passion."

~ Elizabeth Reyes

Crumbly Writer

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."

~ P.J. O'Rourke

On a related note, don't write anything you'd be embarrassed if your kids discovered if you die mid-sentence. 'D Even if it's filthy, ensure it's quality filth!

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

Only a true author will realize the sheer terror of the slight pause that follows the words: "So, I read you book…"

~ Neil D'Silva

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

A few more from Dictionary.com:

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.

~ Margaret Atwood


To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.

~ Anne Rice


Every writer I know has trouble writing.

~ Joseph Heller

Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We're not here to be comfortable—we're here, really, to shake things up. That's our job.

~ Jeanette Winterson

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.

~ Gloria Steinem

Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.

~ Jorge Luis Borges

Sometimes that dream is guided by outlines, sometimes not!

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

~ W. Somerset Maugham

A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.

~ Thomas Caryle

In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it.

~ Alex Haley

That's along the lines of: treat each minor character as if they think the book is about them, in other words, find what makes each character uniquely strong, regardless of their results.

You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

~ Octavia Butler

Switch Blayde

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." — Cyril Connolly

Crumbly Writer

Particularly apt for SOL:

"Women want love to be a novel. Men, a short story."

Daphne Du Maurier

(and if you have no clue who du Maurier is, you really need to look her up—though she probably would never appeal to the SOL fanbase, hense the origin of her quote).

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

Probably the best romantic novel I've ever read:

"We were together. I forget the rest."

~ Walt Whitman

You really don't need any more than that to create a perfect story, though to please publishers, he added a shitload more!

Crumbly Writer

Speaking of romance:

She didn't just fall in love with him once.
She falls in love with him every time she looks at him.

Josephine Angelina

Right there, you have an excellent opening line, establishing the main character, her motivations and her ambitions. The rest of the story only needs to deal with how the man responds to such adoration. 'D

Crumbly Writer

A wonderful closing line (though that's not how it was written):

I was never diamonds.
I was broken glass.
You just made the pieces of me shine.

~ Ranata Suzuki

Even if that's all I read of the story, I'd immediately want to turn back to the front to see how they got to that position.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I was never diamonds.
I was broken glass.
You just made the pieces of me shine.


I guess I'll never be a romantic (although Serena said I was in my short story "Last Kiss"), so I would write that as:

I was never diamonds.
I was broken glass.
So when you ate the last almond.
I kicked your ass.

Switch Blayde

"You can do anything in fiction you can get away with. Unfortunately, nobody's ever gotten away with much."

—Flannery O'Connor

Crumbly Writer

On a side note about Epigraphs, I just invested some significant time trying to track down most of the epigraphs I used in a single book (20 chapters, 29 total quotes). I finally managed to authentic all of them, but couldn't document (identify the specific source) of only two (though one was only identified as "attributed" (by others)).

For any of you who haven't attempted it, authenticating quotes is much harder than it looks. I'd tried, several times, in the past, but also got stymied by quotes I just couldn't authenticate. I knew WHO wrote them, just not where they were from, or even what the actual words were (many sites 'clean up' the original text to make it easier to read, the end result, if you stick to the original text, is less-easily used).

Finally deciding that it's OK to leave a few unauthenticated made the entire process easier, and led to many more finally being authenticated, so don't be deterred by abject failure in the field.

Now that I've done it once (authenticated everything), I'll eventually double back and do it for "Zombie Leza" (section quotes only) and my two "Demonic-Issues" stories (both chapter quotes only), but not until I can allocate sufficient time to undertake each. :(

Crumbly Writer

"If you are asked to revise, it's because your message is worth getting right."

- Caitlin Muir

(The same holds true when editors suggest needed to correct issues.)

Crumbly Writer

"The faster I write, the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them."

- Raymond Chandler

Crumbly Writer

"If you can quit, quit. If you can't, you're a writer."

- R. A. Salvatore

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

authenticating quotes is much harder than it looks.

A relatively famous quote from a Frenchman after the battle of Waterloo "the old guard dies but does not surrender" started out, on the field, as "Merde".

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

On a side note about Epigraphs, I just invested some significant time trying to track down most of the epigraphs I used in a single book (20 chapters, 29 total quotes). I finally managed to authentic all of them


In all the reading I have done, the epigraphs I have enjoyed the most have been fictional epigraphs from fictional persons or reference books from the world the story takes place in.

I've encountered these in both High Fantasy stories and paranormal romances.

Darian Wolfe
Updated:

My current favorite saying is also my theme for 2018. It comes from Mr. Wednesday of the series Americans Gods. While it is not directly related to writing if it were not true in my case I doubt that I could or would write.

There are bigger sacrifices one might be asked to make than going a little mad.
- Mr. Wednesday

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Darian Wolfe

My current favorite saying is also my theme for 2018. It comes from Mr. Wednesday of the series Americans Gods. While it is not directly related to writing if it were not true in my case I doubt that I could or would write.

Here's a similar one:

You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.

~ Robin Williams

Because, of course, as we all know, a 'little madness' is what sparks creativity.

Crumbly Writer

"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."

~ Madeleine L'Engle

Crumbly Writer

It's dangerous getting me started, because I've been amassing a huge collection of epigraphs.

"You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen."

- Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Crumbly Writer

Yet another, fit for all of us:

The best advice I've ever received: 'no one else know what they're doing either'

~ Charles Bukowski

Ernest Bywater

it's not just a writing quote and I don't know who first said it, but it applies here:

"If you think you can do better, then get busy doing better!"

Dominions Son

Personally, the epigraphs that I like the best from the fiction I read are all made up quotes attributed to made up books or characters from the world the story is set in.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Personally, the epigraphs that I like the best from the fiction I read are all made up quotes attributed to made up books or characters from the world the story is set in.

Personally, I prefer literary quotes, and I'm hoping voracious readers do too. The last thing I care about are quotes from vapid actors. What's their expertise, looking pretty on a photoshoot?

Invented quotes are handy, but there are only a few books where they're appropriate. What's more, you've got to hope your invented quotes are as clever as those coined by others, which is essentially the very best lines delivered by the very best minds spread over the past two thousand years. It's hard competing with that!

Crumbly Writer

Here's one that's general to everyone, but is especially apt in responding to critics suggesting you got something wrong in your story:

You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.

~ C. S. Lewis

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Personally, I prefer literary quotes, and I'm hoping voracious readers do too. The last thing I care about are quotes from vapid actors.


I wasn't talking about quotes from actors.

Invented quotes are handy, but there are only a few books where they're appropriate.


I disagree, there are entire genres where they are entirely appropriate (If you have what it takes to make good ones).

High Fantasy
Paranormal Romance (Romance with vampires, were creatures and other fantasy/supernatural creatures in a modern setting)

It would also be appropriate in most science fiction not set in the present or near future.

For example:

One author I read, Molly Harper, who does Paranormal Romance writes a series set in a world with vampires and wearcreatures, mostly werewolves with a strong streak of humor.

The MC of the core books set in this world is turned into a vampire, because she got fired from her job as a librarian, got drunk, had her car break down, fell in a ditch on the side of the road and got mistaken for a deer by a drunk poacher who shot her.

Every chapter starts with a fictional epigraph that is topical to the chapter (try finding a real quote for that for a Vampire romance/comedy).

An example:

Welcome to the fascinating world of the undead! Please use this guidebook as a handy reference as you make your first steps toward eternity. Inside you will find information on vampire nutrition, relationships, and safety. But before learning about your future, a word about our past… —From The Guide for the Newly Undead

PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

Personally, I prefer literary quotes, and I'm hoping voracious readers do too. The last thing I care about are quotes from vapid actors. What's their expertise, looking pretty on a photoshoot?


Yeah, take that, Mae West! Nobody could possibly be interested in what you have to say.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Yeah, take that, Mae West! Nobody could possibly be interested in what you have to say.

No, Mae West fits into another category entirely: comedic quotes, just like Will Rogers, who always had great quotes.

When I criticized actors/actresses it was mainly directed at the 'latest flavor of the month' variety, rather than those who's works stand the test of time (or, as my kids say "Mae Who?"). There's a difference between insightful and vapid but popular.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Mae West

During World War II, Allied aircrews called their yellow inflatable, vest-like life preserver jackets "Mae Wests" partly from rhyming slang for "breasts" and "life vest" and partly because of the resemblance to her torso. A "Mae West" is also a type of round parachute malfunction (partial inversion) which contorts the shape of the canopy into the appearance of an extraordinarily large brassiere.

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