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Writers on Writing: Selected Quotations

GETTING STARTED


When I first set about, at age twenty, to write a novel, I approached the prospect with all due trepidation. It seemed a presumptuous undertaking, and indeed it was, in a number of ways….I went ahead and perpetrated my maiden novel, and it was an unpublishable travesty…but I felt immediately at home in the form, as if my hands and feet had been unshackled. John Barth

When I read women’s biographies and autobiographies, even accounts of how they got started in writing, almost every one of them had a little anecdote which told about the moment someone gave them permission to do it. A mother, a husband, a teacher…somebody said, “Okay, go ahead—you can do it.” Toni Morrison

Writers need both some kind of permission to go ahead, and the will to forge ahead even without that permission. Stephen Koch

I started out with nothing in the world but a kind of passion, a driving desire. Katherine Anne Porter

When I first began writing and was unable to sell a short story, I wrote anything I could sell for a few dollars: two-line jokes, jingles, small bits of poetry or verse, mostly nature pieces. Louis L’Amour

I read the essays George Plimpton had done for Paris Review about how Hemingway and other great ones got their paragraphs hung together, and I tried to diagnose my own talents, and lack of them. I decided I was adept at description, good at moving narration along, and dialogue was no problem. I had no idea whether I could develop a plot or how I could shape characters. Tony Hillerman


This page was last updated on: Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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CRIME -- Celebrated | Top 15
RESOURCES -- Readings | Links | Timeline


A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com

								

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