I’m enjoying picking a theme for the month’s quotes, and hope you are, too. By the way, if you come across a quote you love about writing, art, or creativity that you’d like to share, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org — merci!
“Surely the test of a novel’s characters is that you feel a strong interest in them and their affairs—the good to be successful, the bad to suffer failure.”
— Mark Twain
(Photo: My latest box of characters, officially out June 8 but already available in some outlets!)
“[Writing is] an art, not an inspiration. It is a trade, so to speak, & must be learned — one cannot ‘pick it up.’ Neither can one learn it in a year, nor in five years. And its capital is experience. . . . Whatever you have lived, you can write — & by hard work & a genuine apprenticeship, you can learn to write well; but what you have not lived you cannot write, you can only pretend to write it.”
Mark Twain, letter to Mrs. Whiteside, as quoted in letter to Olivia Clemens (10 Jan. 1885), in The Love Letters of Mark Twain 228 (Dixon Wecter ed., 1949) (via Bryan Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage, in his blog)
Mark Twain in a letter suggesting another writer revise:
“God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. Those are God’s adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed.”
Wonder why he didn’t mention the bleeping snow?