Category Archives: Quotes for Writers

Carol Bly Writer Quotes

“There isn’t a thought or feeling that doesn’t alter or deepen when written. We are a writing animal. That is why all of us feel we have a book inside us. It is not an illusion. We have got a book inside us.” Carol Bly

“No work of literature is the product of only one or two conscious ideas. A story is mysteriously dense of meaning.” Carol Bly

Carol Bl220px-Carol_Bly_(writer)y, born April 16, 1930 in Duluth, Minnesota, was a short story writer, essayist, nonfiction American writer. She married Robert Bly the poet, in 1955.

“Bly’s short stories are known for their realistic characters and situations, which are fully developed within the small number of pages the story allows.[7] Although many of her protagonists are content to live in “ignorant complacency, they learn to use their own strength and intelligence to make a change in her community.

She published five novels, six essays, two books on writing, and co-wrote four works with Cynthia Loveland. I haven’t read anything by Bly, but the titles that stood out for me are:


  • Shelter Half (Holy Cow! Press, 2008) (Fiction)


  • Bad Government and Silly Literature: An Essay
  • Changing the Bully Who Rules the World (1996)
  • Against Workshopping Manuscripts

Bly passed away on December 21, 2007, at the age of 77.



Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Editor of Written Across the Genres

Author of Hada’s Fog





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A Quote About Magic

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E.L.Doctorow Quotes

EL Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow passed away last week Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at age 84. Doctorow was a heavy smoker and died of complications involving lung cancer. He was born in the Bronx on January 6, 1931. His parents were second-generation Americans of Russian Jewish extraction and named their son Edgar after Edgar Allen Poe.

Doctorow wrote twelve novels and taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Yale School of Drama, the University of Utah, the University of California, Irvine, and Princeton University. Quotes by Doctorow:

“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”
“I get intrigued by a first line and I write to find out why it means something to me. You make discoveries just the way the reader does, so you’re simultaneously the writer and the reader.”

EL Doctorow terrifying century
EL Doctorow rain

el doctorow ragtime

What is your favorite E.L. Doctorow quote? I like the one about you’re simultaneously the writer and the reader.

EL Doctorow book Andrew's BrainEL Doctorow book Baily Bathgate  EL Doctorow book all the time in the world

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Writing Prompt in a Quote

lost quoteCoppola name on wire arch entranceToday I went with three of my long time friends to meet a mutual friend at Frank Coppola’s Winery Restaurant. We had an hour and a half drive from the south and the friend from the north had about 45 minutes to get there.

Heavy, dark clouds followed us and a misty rain teased the windshield as we drove through the wine country. The positive energy as we passed under the Coppola’s arc increased. An impressive castle-like building and swimming pool welcome visitors. The restaurant with movie artifacts surrounding it serves excellent food, especially the salmon.  Each of the five of us takes a turn bringing our symbolic bling-covered centerpiece. At our last meeting, it appeared to be irretrievable because no one said they had it. Today it took it’s place on the wood table and Carol admitted that she had had it all along.

She said, “I lost what was in plain sight.”

What a great idea for a short story or novel. It’s general enough to fit any genre. It has a poignant feel and for me, it’s a hook.

What was lost? When it was found, was it too late or was it a solution?

What does Carol’s quote mean for you?

coppola with camera

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Quote from Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka ( 3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924)
Albert Camus, Gabriel García Márquez and Jean-Paul Sartre are among the writers influenced by Kafka’s work; the term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe existential situations like those in his writing. From
Anel P. Albertao posted this amazing Kafka quote on FaceBook.

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief.”

Do you agree?

Franz Kafka's booksFranz Kafka's Metamorphosis book cover


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Writer Cullen McCullers Quotes

Carson McCullersBorn Lula Carson Smith on February 19, 1917 in Georgia, she died on September 29, 1967 at age 50. She was a novelist in the Southern Gothic Genre. Her first novel at age 22 was The Heart is a Lonely Hunter about the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts in a U.S. Southern small town. Known as Carson, not Lula, she married Reeves McCullers in 1937 and divorced him in 1941.Carson McCullers moved to New York where her roommates were Aaron Copland and Salvador Dali and others. Gypsy Rose Lee was among her friends. After World War ll she lived in Paris for a few years. Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams were her close friends.
“In 1945 Carson and Reeves McCullers remarried. Three years later while severely depressed she attempted suicide. In 1953 Reeves tried to convince her to commit suicide with him, but she fled and Reeves killed himself in their Paris hotel with an overdose of sleeping pills. Her bittersweet play, The Square Root of Wonderful (1957), drew upon these traumatic experiences.”  McCullers had several strokes since her youth and by age 31 her left side was paralyzed. She also suffered from alcoholism. She lived in Nyack, New York from 1945 to 1967 where she died after a brain hemorrhage.” McCullers dictated her unfinished autobiography, Illumination and Night Glare (1999), during the final months of her life.” (Information from
Carson McCullers Quotes:
“How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?”
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are gone, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.”
“There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.
The mind is like a richly woven tapestry in which the colors are distilled from the experiences of the senses, and the design drawn from the convolutions of the intellect.
While time, The endless idiot, runs screaming ’round the world.”
“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
“The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.”
“The thinking mind is best controlled by the imagination.”
 “The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.”
 Flannery O’Connor said about McCullers’ book, Clock Without Hands:  “I believe it is the worst book I have ever read.”
Have any of you read work by Cullen McCullers?  I haven’t. But Flannery O’Connor’s books were influential in my love of short stories and my interest in becoming a writer.


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Richard Peck Writer Quotes

richard Peck writing by lights of bridgesRichard Peck, born April 10, 1934 (age 81)is an American novelist, particularly for young adults. He taught junior high and high school English. He left teaching in 1971 to write his first novel, Don’t Look and It Won’t Hurt,  in 1972, in which “A teenage girl struggles to understand her place within her family and in the world.” He has written a book each year since then, totaling 41 books in 41 years.

When the author is not traveling, he works at an L-shaped desk, which affords a sunny window. He writes everything on an electric typewriter because “it has to be a book from the first day,” he explains. He has no daily routine because of all the traveling he does, but follows a very disciplined writing process. He writes each page six times, then places it in a three-ring binder with a DePauw University cover (“a talisman,” he calls this memento from his alma mater). When he feels that he has gotten a page just right, he takes out another 20 words. “After a year, I’ve come to the end. Then I’ll take this first chapter, and without rereading it, I’ll throw it away and write the chapter that goes at the beginning. Because the first chapter is the last chapter in disguise.” He always hands in a completed manuscript, and his editor is his first reader.

Peck believes each book should be a question, not an answer

Here are some of his quotes:

“Ironically, it was my students who taught me to be a writer, though I had been hired to teach them,” he said in a speech published in Arkansas Libraries.”They taught me that a novel must entertain first before it can be anything else. I learned that there is no such thing as a ‘grade reading level’; a young person’s ‘reading level’ and attention span will rise and fall according to his degree of interest. I learned that if you do not have a happy ending for the young, you had better do some fast talking.”.[citation needed]

“You never write about yourself; you just always wind up having written about yourself.”—Oct 10, 2013, to a library full of 4th graders in Pleasanton, CA.
“Nobody but a reader ever became a writer.” – Aug 5, 2013, SCBWI conference

Information from:


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Nancy Kress Science Fiction Writer Quotes

Nancy Kress what's all neededNancy Kress is an American science fiction writer, born in January, 1948. Her 1991 novella, Beggars in Spain, won the Hugo and Nebula awards. Since then she expanded it into a novel.

Nancy Kress Beggars in SpainIn 2012 she also won the Nebula Award for Best Novella for “After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall.”

Nancy Kress Before the fall, during and after

Nancy Kress with open book be 3Nancy Kress fiction about screw ups

Nancy Kress head shot

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Katherine Anne Porter Quotes

K Porter on a stampKatherine Ann Porter, born May 15, 1890 in Texas, died September, 1980 in Maryland, was a Pulitzer Prize- winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist. She was known for her penetrating insight and her work with dark themes such as betrayal, death, and the origin of human evil.

She was married and divorced four times. For ten years she taught at four universities, one of which was Stanford. Her unconventional manner of teaching made her popular with students. (

K Porter moment now happyK Porter quote gullet

K Porter quote story like a spiderK Porter quote thought of him like smoky cloud

K Porter truth result fiction

K Porter quote past where you left it


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Alfred Lord Tennyson Quotes

Alfred Lord Tennyson bust
Alfred Lord Tennyson was born on August 6, 1809 in England and died October 6, 1892.He followed William Wordsworth as Poet Laureate of Great Britain. He held that position from 1850 to the time of his death in 1892, the longest tenure of any laureate. Robert Browning was his contemporary who said Tennyson was “insane” with revising his manuscripts extensively.  T.S. Elliot described Tennyson as “the saddest of all English poets.” W. H. Auden said about Tennyson, “There was little about melancholia he didn’t know; there was little else that he did.”

Here are some Tennyson quotes:

“So sad, so fresh the days that are no more.”

“The words ‘far, far away’ had always a strange charm.”

“The city is built
To music, therefore never built at all,
And therefore built forever.”

“I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson's Eagle poem with pic.
“The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;”
And the white rose weeps, “She is late;”
The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;”
And the lily whispers, “I wait.”


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