Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thought(s) for the day

I'm just back from two weekends of SCBWI Writers' Conferences (great to meet you, new friends in Colorado and the Carolinas). While creating my presentation for last weekend's conference, I found a couple of sharp, smart quotes from writerly "greats" that I love:

“Lots of interesting things happen to people, but they don’t all make good stories. It’s a writer’s job to know which is which.”—Joan Lowery Nixon, The Making of a Writer

“A book for young readers has to tell a story. This may seem self-evident, but the truth is some people ignore it because plotting is very hard work.”—Katherine Paterson, The Gates of Excellence

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? Leave it in the comments!


  1. I really enjoyed your talk, and all the quotes. KP and MLE have sustained me over the years. One of my favorite KP quotes is: As I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time are those who have given me something to say.

    I have many quotes I love and keep a page on my blog for quick inspiration.

  2. “The writer is either a practicing recluse or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one; or both. Usually both.”--Susan Sotag

    Irregardless of the either-or fallacy, Sotag's onto somethin'... And wish I had met you in NC, Molly! Hope you enjoyed the conference and kick-ass cheddar grits, fried chicken, the usual fare...


  3. I'm surprised more people haven't shared quotes, so I'll add a couple from editors:

    A writer's heart must beat. A reader's heart must hear it. Patti Lee Gauch

    Sure, it's simple, writing for kids . . .Just as simple as bringing them up. Ursula K. LeGuin

  4. Excellent quotes. Here's one from a Libba Bray talk: "No matter what type of world you're writing, character is timeless -- people are people are people."

    I've found this particularly usefull since most of my fictional worlds are fairly abstract.

  5. "FInish the book." Margaret Atwood quoted in September, 2012 Writer's Digest. Enjoyed meeting you at the Carolina's conference. Your comments during the FIrst Pages panel were very insightful. I'm quoting you on my blog today!

  6. This is more of a work-in-progress note really, from Ursula Nordstrom, (the book you sent me) N.G.E.F.Y. from the book, (page vvviii), "that if a word or passage or even an entire manuscript did not pass muster, it was not because the author was a failure but because the piece of work in question had, in this particular instance, somehow failed to rise to his or her own high and praiseworthy standard."

    I really like this because it shows that most everything needs revision and that it's okay, and that sometimes, every so often, writers write novels that are not good enough for you (them).

  7. Kathryn,
    That is a wonderful quote. Thanks for sharing it!

  8. Kathryn,

    I'm sorry I couldn't be at the Carolinas conference, but I love your "10 block walk" comment. Having lived in Manhattan I totally relate to the walking/thinking routine. Hopefully you will swing by NC again soon.

  9. Carol, I need that reminder ALL the time! Jane Yolen said something similar ... Finish the d*** book.

  10. Greetings!

    I came across your blog and your Twitter profile.

    I am eager to know, do you edit and critique YA novels independently or in limits of your company?

    Well, sorry for that foolish framing of the question, but am a bit confused.


    If you do edit and critique YA novels independently, please let me know the charges for the same.

    Awaiting a response from your side.

    silvergirish at gmail dot com

  11. “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
    ― Toni Morrison

    It's always inspired me to write.

    -Andy Fidel