Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Music the Words Make

Truman Capote

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Being a writer of sorts, I’ve always been interested in what well-known writers have to say about their craft. Following are a few of my favorites, and I agree with each and every one. I must say, though, Capote's is my very favorite.

The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
-William Faulkner

A written word is the choicest of relics.

-Henry David Thoreau

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

Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder.

-Raymond Chandler

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

-E.L. Doctorow

It is the purpose of literature to turn blood into ink.

-T.S. Eliot

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.

-Robert Frost

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make.

-Truman Capote


C.S. said...

Thanks for your kind words at my blog about my tribute to my late husband.

I have always been fascinated by other writers, the how/why of their writing obession, their pasts, their lives and, of course, their quotes.

Like all the ones you listed, but of those, my favorite is by E.L. Doctorow. Writing a novel is exactly as he describes it, and sometimes seems to have a life of its own. The writer has a vague outline, knows the characters, but once the novel is in progress, things get a little scary and almost (dare I say it?) paranormal -- as if the voices, the story are coming from someplace other than the writer. The MOST creative and imaginative of all writing, it is truly a thrill ride from start to finish. And often, the "outline" falls by the wayside, and what happens is always surprising -- to the writer and the reader alike.

Michelle H. said...

Several here I never heard before, yet all of them are great. Thanks for sharing this.

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Very nice quotes from the very best writers!

Hope you're doing good!

Brenda said...


I know exactly what you mean! When you're really on a roll, words coming fast and furiously, the characters just seem to take over and you feel you are merely transcribing their words. It is truly a spiritual feeling, and, yes, paranormal.

Michelle and Rhonda,

Thanks so much for your comments!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wonderful quotes! I hope you saw some of my blog posts abour Brooklyn Heights that I did a few weeks ago (under the label "Brooklyn") Capote lived in the basement apartment at 70 Willow St when he wrote "Breakfast At Tiffanys." I always get a thrill seeing the place where a writer once lived.

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley