I Should be Writing

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” — Orson Scott

“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” — George Orwell

“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

“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.” — William S. Burroughs

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” —Robert Frost

13 comments

  1. One of my favorite “dates” with my husband was in Coronado, California.

    Left the kids with his family, and we got about two hours to just…go and eat.

    I don’t even remember what we ate, but I do remember the conversations, because people watching was awesome. The gorgeous guy with movie Prince Valiant length hair, fake leather coat to his knees, fashionable shirt, slacks that looked like they were made of silk… easily a dozen more, although that guy was most eye-catching.

  2. I like the last quote the best. I thought y’all knew what you were writing before you started. Even after reading your blogs for years I still thought that.

    1. “Ok, so this happens to this character. How does everyone else respond?

      Ok, so you do this, you do that, and you… wait, what? Why? You can’t… But that’s… that’s not out of character is it? Oh no. Oh noooo.”

    2. I know who I’m writing about and their (plural) situations. But I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen and how they’ll react until I write it.

      The “tears” thing is kinda weird. Sometimes people will be very moved by something that was just straightforward statement of facts to me when I wrote it. Other times, I’ll write something I thought was just devastating and I get a reaction like “he’s a cute/funny drunk.” I can’t really tell ahead of time how it will affect people.

  3. The story bits and ideas don’t jump up at me – most of the time. They lurk like cats in the fog, easing closer, twining themselves into possible stories until the time is right.

    Right for them, not me, which is why I’m writing on TWO very different pieces right at this moment!

    1. Ah, such envy. I have to introduce them. Indeed, I had three ideas hanging about for a story for quite some time before it dawned on me that they were one.

  4. Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.

    ― André Gide

  5. And in response to F. Scott Fitzgerald, some of those story ideas come under: “I can see how awesome those story ideas would be in the hands of someone else, but they’re not at all the kind of thing I’m equipped to write or want to write, so they should go away and bother someone else.”

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