Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some of my favorite writer quotes (especially useful for thinking about good flash fiction)...

"The rule of the writer is not to say what we can all say but what we are unable to say." (Anais Nin)
"One who reads one hundred poets sounds like one hundred poets. One who reads a thousand poets sounds like oneself." (Chinese axiom)
"Thus we respect the poet who observes no more than we do and conceives it no more profoundly than we should, if only he formulates it better than we could; we respect him still more if he does this better than most poets have. We respect still more the poet who observes more than we do, and still more the poet who feels or conceives more than we; and in proportion as the performance surpasses such standards, our respect increases. We range from the slightest esteem to the greatest awe and wonder according as he does surpass such standards; let him fall below them, and our feelings descend as far as utter contempt. We measure performance as against what it seems impossible anyone should have done; against what only the fine artist could have done; against what most artists could do, what most people could do, what anyone could have done, what only a fool would have done." (Elder Olson, from an article titled "The Nature of the Poet" from A Casebook on Dylan Thomas)
"Creating stories is a special craft-- a special way of capturing reality on the page. It feels real, but it isn't. You can't just break off a piece of reality and stick it on the page. It won't work. It won't work because fiction is concentrated, heightened, intensified reality. It's the essence of reality. All reality doesn't contain such essence or truth, but all fiction must. You, the author, must create it. So even though you already have everything you need, you need to learn how to use it. That's craft. That's technique...." (Jerry Cleaver, Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course. New York: St. Martin's, 2002)

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