Writing writ and wit 3.

If you’re heartily sick of my collection of writers’ words, words, words and yet more words about writing by now, no worries. You can always just stop reading the damned thing.

But for those I haven’t yet bored out of their skulls with these quotes, the good news is that, after this third episode in my ‘Writing writ and wit’ series, there are only at most two more to go.

Some writing enthusiasts among you, I hope, will take the opportunity to copy and paste the entire collection into a document to keep for future reference, or to pass-on to other, fellow lit-wits.

I also hope that you practitioners of other creative arts are finding some insights or opinions that are as applicable to your creative activities as they are to writing.

And those of you out there who are more interested in reading rather than writing might very well find that the authors of some of the quotes that you find most interesting are well worth following-up in their actual work.

But whatever, here are some more thoughts to be going on with, for any of you who’ve had the patience to persevere this far.



For it is not possible, is it, that language itself is the primary obstacle to communication?

Joyce Carol Oates.


The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning

and the lightning bug.

Mark Twain.


What is above all needed is for the meaning to choose the word and not the other way around.

George Orwell.


Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.

Joan Didion.


Word-carpentry is like any other kind of carpentry: you must join your sentences smoothly.

Anatole France.


I believe more in the scissors than the pencil.

Truman Capote.


Good writing is supposed to invoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it’s raining, but the feel of being rained upon.

E. L. Doctorow.


I almost never know (what is going to happen).  I start to make it up and have happen what would have to happen as it goes along.

Ernest Hemingway.


Character is revealed by action.  Action is motivated by character.

Norton Wright.


What we want is a story that starts with an earthquake and builds to a climax.

Samuel L. Goldwyn.


The only rule I have found to have any validity in writing is not to bore yourself.

John Mortimer.


If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.

W. Somerset Maugham.


It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.

Robert Benchley.


To idealise: all writing is a campaign against cliché. Not just clichés of the pen, but clichés of the mind and clichés of the heart.

Martin Amis.


All truth passes through three stages.  First it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third it is accepted as self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer.


We are betrayed by what is false within.

George Meredith.


In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell.


– Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies.



Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

Philip K. Dick.


The merit of originality is not novelty, it is sincerity.

Thomas Carlyle.


If your head tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, before you do anything, you should first decide whether you have a better head or a better heart.

Marilyn Vos Savant.



1 Comment

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One response to “Writing writ and wit 3.

  1. Thank you for the quotes,,I shall paste and copy and attempt to learn…Never will tire of your writing… Love and thanks


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