"Without character, you have nothing. Great plot? Robust storyworld? Potent themes? Elegant font? Matters little if your character is a dud. The punch might be delicious, but not if someone threw up in it. The character is why we come to the table. The character is our way through all those other things. We engage with stories because we relate to them: they are mirrors. Characters are the mirror-side version of “us” staring back. Twisted, warped, uncertain — but still us through and through."
"I firmly believe that every book was meant to be written."
— Marchette Chute
"My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip."
"As for the adjective, when in doubt leave it out."
"I got to thinking about the point in every freelancer’s life where he has to decide whether he wants to A, have a social life, and do art in his spare time, or B, do art, and have a social life in his spare time. It has always seemed to me that if you have any hope of making a living as an artist – writer, musician, whatever – you absolutely must learn to tell people to leave you alone, and to mean it, and to eject them from your life if they don’t respect that. This is necessary not because your job is more important than anyone else’s – it isn’t – but because a great many people will think of you as not having a job. ‘Oh, how wonderful – you can work whenever you want to!’ Well, yes, to a point, but generally ‘whenever you want to’ had better be most of the time, or else you won’t have a roof over your head."
"All drama is conflict. Without conflict, you have no action; without action, you have no character; without character, you have no story; without story, you have no screenplay."
— Syd Field, Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
"Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars."
"The best writing comes obviously out of a precision we do not and dare not employ when we speak, yet such writing still has the ring of speech. It is a style in short that can take you a life to achieve."
— Norman Mailer, from Fiction Writer’s Handbook by Hallie and Whit Burnett
"All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you."