Saturday, December 1, 2012


I decided to give writing advice in the form of quotes from writers. These are all things I have learned to be true. I'm not sure there is any instance where a true writer has learned differently. 

“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

I thought this was a great way to demonstrate how to stop using unnecessary words like "very" and "that." Aladdin's example was, "You did very well on that paper", "You did damn well on that paper!" or "You did well on that paper!" 

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 
― Stephen King

We all should know, as writers, that we must read to be better writers. Through reading we learn what we hate, love, and what we want to be. I learned I wanted to create a world like Tolkien created--a place I could live in and love. 

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.” 
― Lloyd Alexander

I thought this was interesting because many times we say we write to escape reality, but I never considered fantasy in terms of understanding reality. Many times, I think, human nature is seen clearly in terms of fantasy than in non-fiction. 

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau brings up an excellent point--how can you write when you haven't EXPERIENCED? It was easier for my places and descriptions to change once I had travelled and seen different places. It was easier for me to describe feelings of love when I had experienced it. I could go on and on about things I've experienced that make my writing better, but you get the picture. I was thinking in the car on the way home yesterday, "Where is the limit with writers? When will they say "No!" when it comes to being able to convey that perfect line?" For instance--what if your main character smokes weed…and you don't exactly know how to describe that feeling? Is it enough to interview someone? Or would you feel, as a writer, obligated to smoke weed?

This is where I draw my limit. Also, none of my characters smoke weed. But I only thought of this because I went to a Coheed and Cambria concert and was thrown around in a mosh pit…nasty body odor, vomit, and--would you believe it--weed were smells that made me what to gag…and I thought, of all things, "You need to write this, Ashley!" 

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” 
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

This becomes truer and truer as e-books become popular--but I will not be unfair, because many e-books are way better than some traditionally published books. The market has become a master at pretty covers and terrible content--of course, all for sales. 

“You can make anything by writing.” 
― C.S. Lewis

I love this…because it is true. 

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It's that easy, and that hard.” 
― Neil Gaiman

And wouldn't you know--this is, too. 

**all quotes were taken from


  1. Grr, damn them for all being true! Writing is hard. :-P Good thing it's fun. :)

    1. haha! I love the cleverness!
      Writing IS fun! :)

  2. Here's another one: You can tell if it's in the passive voice by adding "by zombies" to the end of it. If it makes sense, it's in the passive voice.

    1. haha! That's great! I am totally going to use that because I have a problem with passive voice! Thanks, Rena!

  3. Love these! I feel wiser already. :)

    1. Thanks, Nicole! I love writer quotes, too!

  4. Love them! They are all damn good. (Hey, damn actually works well there!

    1. LOL. It sure does! Thanks, Elizabeth!

  5. Excellent quotes. Many of these are my favorites. The one about fantasy being a way to understand reality was interesting. I'm going to have to ponder that one for a while.

    1. Thanks, Lara!

      Agreed--when I read it, I stopped for a moment because I had always thought of it as an escape.

  6. Damn well said! :) I also loved the "put one word in front of the other." Reminds me of my fav Christmas special :)

  7. These were damn damn good, Ashley! Haha, I like it! Thanks for visiting my blog.