Advice from the Experts

I love browsing around writing boards on Pinterest with words from the literary experts. When I’m feeling discouraged, I find short, pithy quotes that remind me what my meandering plot is missing or quotes that encourage me to stay the course even when things aren’t going as well as I’d like. In any case, to start off the new year, here are a few I’d like to share with you.


You can’t use up the creativity. The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou

A story is a letter that an author writes to himself, to tell himself things he would be unable to discover otherwise. – Carlos Ruiz Záfon

I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank one. – Nora Roberts

The difference in winning and losing is most often in not quitting. – Walt Disney

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so later I can build castles. – Shannon Hale

Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing. The rest will follow. – Jane Yolen

The key, the crux of the whole matter, is to FINISH YOUR MANUSCRIPT. You must learn to see this as the goal. Not the perfect word or the polished paragraph. A finished text. – Davis Bunn

The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. – Richard Price

When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make sure their character wants something right away, even it’s only a glass of water. – Kurt Vonnegut

When in doubt, make trouble for your character. Don’t let her stand on the edge of the pool, dipping her toe. Come up behind her and give her a good hard shove. – Janet Fitch

Novels are forged in passion, demand fidelity and commitment, often drive you to boredom or rage, sleep with you at night. They are the long haul. They are marriage. – David Leavitt

Be yourself and readers will follow you anywhere. Try to commit an act of writing and they will jump overboard to get away. – William Zinsser

Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes,  getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other, until finally there’s an explosion – that’s plot. – Leigh Brackett

Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement. – Cory Doctorow

Dialogue is action. It’s not characters making talk. A character’s words are tools he uses to get his way in a scene. – James Scott Bell

Write a little bit each day. One page a day means 365 pages in a year. – Francine Rivers

One should be able to return to the first sentence of a novel and find the resonance of the entire work. – Gloria Naylor

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

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. – Ray Bradbury


2 Replies to “Advice from the Experts”

  1. Thanks, Connie. I’m glad you liked them. Now, if I can just put their wonderful advice into practice ….

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