Fictional Novel Quotes

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My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky.
Alan Moore
Friends are the family you choose (~ Nin/Ithilnin, Elven rogue).
Jess C. Scott (The Other Side of Life)
A fit, healthy body—that is the best fashion statement
Jess C. Scott
Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I'm always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it's very shocking to the system.
Flannery O'Connor (Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose)
Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.
Khaled Hosseini
Please, touch me, I pray.
Jess C. Scott (The Intern)
While we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren't there, we hear their voices... Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Neither novels or their readers benefit from any attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
So...Mason, Eddie, and Mia went to Spokane to hunt Strigoi?" "Yes." "Holy shit. Why didn't you go with them? Seems like something you'd do." I resisted the urge to smack him. "Because I'm not insane! But I'm going to go get them before they do something even stupider.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
Do you think we can be friends?” I asked. He stared up at the ceiling. “Probably not, but we can pretend.
Priya Ardis (Ever My Merlin (My Merlin, #3))
There is no end To what a living world Will demand of you.
Octavia E. Butler (Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1))
Too many adults wish to 'protect' teenagers when they should be stimulating them to read of life as it is lived.
Margaret A. Edwards
Then you look at her and smile a smile your dissembling face will remember until the day you die. Baby, you say, baby, this is part of my novel. This is how you lose her.
Junot Díaz (This Is How You Lose Her)
Vane grabbed me. “DuLac, let’s chat.” Chat. British-speak for “Stand still while I yell at you.
Priya Ardis (My Merlin Awakening (My Merlin, #2))
If she spoke, she would tell him the truth: she was not okay at all, but horribly empty, now that she knew what it was like to be filled.
Jodi Picoult (Plain Truth)
Tis strange,-but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction: if it could be told, How much would novels gain by the exchange! How differently the world would men behold!
Lord Byron (Don Juan)
You are there and to their ears, being a Syrian sounds like you’re unclean, shameful, indecent; it’s like you owe the world an apology for your very existence.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
We don't read novels to have an experience like life. Heck, we're living lives, complete with all the incompleteness. We turn to fiction to have an author assure us that it means something.
Orson Scott Card
Your little buddy just gave me the greatest    Christmas gift I've ever gotten.
Kyle Keyes (Under the Bus)
I am not an atheist preacher. I am not an absolutist or chauvinist whose ways are immune to evolution. My core philosophy is that I might be wrong.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
The old law of an eye for an eye didn’t make them blind to the fact that another man’s terrorist wasn’t their freedom fighter.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
I felt hot under my Mutton sleeves. "I just wish he'd have the decency to say whatever he came to say in front of his wife." "Perhaps his wife is busy today." "She shouldn't be." His wife should track him like a bloodhound.
Diana Forbes (Mistress Suffragette)
I wished he'd stop trying to put me off. It was becoming irksome. Or, if he were, then he really needed to stop acting so damned charming.
Diana Forbes (Mistress Suffragette)
Hurricanes couldn’t remove you from my mind. You’re my world and I’m incapable of not loving you.
Billie-Jo Williams
There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence.
Flannery O'Connor (Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose)
Phil, we're the laughing stock of the nation,"     said Hobbs Creek mayor to police chief, "We     have a cop who faints at the sight of blood!
Kyle Keyes (Under the Bus)
It's better to die in pursuit of your dreams than to live a life without hope.
Terry Brooks (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (Star Wars Novelizations, #1))
The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction)
Vane’s lips tightened to suppress a smile. “Why so hostile, love?” “You whacked me on the head with a ball!” “You deserved it.
Priya Ardis (My Merlin Awakening (My Merlin, #2))
You’re my best friend, You’re my love, You’re my life. I can’t wait to make you my wife! Love, Ryan
Tina Reber (Love Unrehearsed (Love, #2))
In the end, like so many beautiful promises in our lives, that dinner date never came to be.
Haruki Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart)
Then came the healing time, hearts started to shine, soul felt so fine, oh what a freeing time it was.
Aberjhani (Songs from the Black Skylark zPed Music Player)
Yes, I'm rich. Get use to it. -- Christian Grey
E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1))
The sun does not abandon the moon to darkness.
Brian A. McBride (Dominion (The Starcrafters' Saga, #2))
I caught his hand. “What do you want me to do?” Leaning down, he kissed the pulse beating on my neck just above the damaged skin. “Tomorrow, I need you to die.
Priya Ardis (My Merlin Awakening (My Merlin, #2))
Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, Judges and Justices all fall prey to the Hitman.
R.B. Le`Deach (My Graphic Bipolar Fantasies: & Other Short Stories)
For some reason, notwithstanding the alienation and utter rejection, I consider myself a global citizen. They say misery calls for company and I’ve always been a man of funerals. The companion of the misfortunate, until they are not!
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
That is the joy of reading fiction: when all is said and done, the novel belongs to the reader and his or her imagination.
Alice Hoffman
I spent the period reading the first novel assigned for English. And wow. If I hadn't realized I was in France yet, I do now. Because Like Water for Chocolate has sex in it. LOTS of sex.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
if you want it really, you get it !!!
Ravinder Singh
This novel is fiction, except for the parts that aren't.
Michael Crichton
A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read ‘The Lost Symbol’, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.
The Economist
I was born to be your rival,' she [Anne] said simply. 'And you mine. We're sisters, aren't we?
Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9))
What you do when no one is guiding you determines who you are.
F.C. Yee (The Rise of Kyoshi (The Kyoshi Novels, #1))
The blind faith in some half-assed conspiracy theories lines up with the logic of having to believe in something with no questions asked. It gives us peace and comfort. As simple as I was, I found that resorting to this absolute nonsense was the root of all our problems. It was a road of willingly-learned helplessness, for no action could make a difference, thereby no action was needed.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
He’d used the amulet to read my thoughts again. I pictured smacking him in the face.
Priya Ardis (Ever My Merlin (My Merlin, #3))
There is no hospitality like understanding.
Vanna Bonta (Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel)
The Slice and Dice Fanatic uses his sexual skills to lure his victims into his realm of fun.
R.B. Le`Deach (My Graphic Bipolar Fantasies: & Other Short Stories)
The heater spits a chorus of steam, his bones no longer brittle and cold. The ice man melted, a new form waiting to emerge once all the crystals get shaken away.
Lee Matthew Goldberg (The Ancestor)
Anna did say the wife of Lir had left her?” whispered Mary. “Yes,” said Caroline. “She said, ‘for now.
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
I have to stress that my duties towards victims of all sorts, be it helping, taking their side, or caring, ends the moment their status becomes a bargaining chip. The moment the victim becomes a righteous sufferer. For in my short time on this planet, history and on-going affairs are full of those competing in victimhood.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
The illusion is we are only physical.
Vanna Bonta (Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel)
Customer: Where are your fictional novels?
Jen Campbell (Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops)
This must be awful for you. You get a job, and then next thing you know you’re dealing with a car chase, a bitchy manager, the SEC, and a boss dying to visit a secluded island with his admin assistant.” A slow grin grew on his face. Mm… when can we go?
J.J. Sorel (A Taste of Peace)
Janet showed her teeth. “Time to get real, Sarah. No more human sacrifices, got it?
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
So, Mr. Jeffreys,” she inquired of the human bluebottle, “you went to the gym?
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
I’ve read hundreds of novels in my life, most of them claiming that love was the center of the universe. That it could heal any damage inside of us. That it was what we needed to survive. From Darcy to Heathcliff, I thought they were fools. That love was something fictional, only found in worn pages of a book. That it was just made up to keep humans full of hope, that it was a lie. But all that changed since I met my Elizabeth Bennett. I never thought I would find myself completely and utterly consumed by another until her. She took my hand and led me out of the darkness and showed me that, whatever our souls are made of, hers and mine are the same. I’m sorry, please forgive me. You once asked me who I loved most in this world. It’s you. — Hardin ( Movie- "After" - Hardin's letter to Tessa )
Anna Todd
Writing a novel is agony.
George Orwell
There should be multiple yous," Grayson says, outlined by the moonlight, a blue phantasm. "So you can help solve all of our problems. So you can help solve the world's problems.
Lee Matthew Goldberg (The Ancestor)
Crooked politicians stood in the way of our President until the Hitman doled out justice for them.
R.B. Le`Deach (My Graphic Bipolar Fantasies: & Other Short Stories)
[novan]: bassists are very good with their fingers [novan]: and some of us sing backup vocals, so that means we're good with our mouths too... (~ IM chat with Novan Chang, 18, bassist)
Jess C. Scott (EyeLeash: A Blog Novel)
His eyes swelling with tears, the alien salt stinging. Not tears of sadness, this he decides. He won't let them be anything more than a body's way of letting go.
Lee Matthew Goldberg (The Ancestor)
If you haven't cried at least once while writing a chapter of your inspirational book, then you have to ask yourself if your're writing fiction.
Shannon L. Alder
He lived like a devil and died like a saint
Haidji (SG - Suicide Game)
Don’t we know any. . .er. . .cheap lawyers?
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
Law and order during 2020 seemed to slip past most communities until the Vigilante stepped into view and began his own style of justice.
R.B. Le`Deach (My Graphic Bipolar Fantasies: & Other Short Stories)
Promise me, if this is the end of us, let it be the beginning of the revolution.
Carl Novakovich (The Watchers: The Tomb)
I'd never beat you black and blue. I aim for pink." -- Christian Grey
E.L. James
I closed my eyes, imagining every feature of his face. He had greenish eyes that could challenge the ocean. He had this amazing way of smiling which could melt the toughest hearts. He was the epitome of perfection and a paragon of gentlemanly conduct. He was precious and gallant towards everyone. Probably, that’s why I was spellbound. For me, he was debonair. Boys like him shouldn’t be born. He didn’t belong here. He didn’t belong to me.
Pratibha Malav (If Tomorrow Comes (A Kind Of Commitment, #2))
Purposively whirling around, I glared at him. How dangerously handsome he is! How fiercely I hate him! How hopelessly I still love him. How badly I want to melt in his arms! How desperately I want to make him mine again! How strongly I want to get rid of his presence! I couldn’t see more of him and face nightmares for the rest of my life. His presence was toxic. Like bad toxic. Or a good toxic? I couldn’t differentiate. My head was spinning.
Pratibha Malav (If Tomorrow Comes (A Kind Of Commitment, #2))
I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows.
E.M. Forster
Before anything else I was a woman who was capable of passion and who had a great need and a great desire for love.
Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9))
And he never asked you about it?” “No, he never asked. If he had, I’m still not sure I would have told him.” “Told him what?” “That is was his baby.
Behcet Kaya (Body In The Woods (Jack Ludefance, #2))
For I’m neither a submitter nor a hating retaliator, I acknowledge the boundaries of my existence; yet, I still care. I care regardless of the way they choose to reduce me to the brand that is the birthmark of the accident of my conception. I care less about what that brand signifies in terms of my character, potential, and intentions. For the harmed I care. For the real victims. It’s the most basic of my mandatory civil duties. Only in caring, am I a citizen of the world.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
This is a work of fiction. If certain characters resemble people in real life, it is because certain people in real life resemble characters from a novel. Nobody, therefore, is entitled to feel included in this book. Nobody, by the same token, to feel excluded.
Fernando del Paso (Palinuro de México)
Historical novels are, without question, the best way of teaching history, for they offer the human stories behind the events and leave the reader with a desire to know more.
Louis L'Amour (Education of a Wandering Man)
Because beautiful things never last. Not roses nor snow… And not fireworks, either
Jennifer Donnelly (Revolution)
I’ve been told that I cannot change shit, so I might as well stop torturing myself. My emotions are ridiculed and branded as childish. I have been told that the world has given up on my people. I have been told, and realise that on many occasions, I myself am viewed as an outcast by some of those suffering. I’ve been confronted and my answer is always the same: I care even in my most fucked-up moments. I care even when gates of shit pour open to drown me; I care because I am a citizen of the world.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
Mama gasped. “She’s pregnant?”
The nurse stood. “Not pregnant. In labor. About to deliver her child… when did your water break, honey?
Jack Getze (Making Hearts)
Fine architecture is man’s tribute to the land it has been built on. So are the untouched, pristine lands he preserves for posterity.
Tom Baldwin (Macom Farm)
Starting over can be the scariest thing in the entire world, whether it’s leaving a lover, a school, a team, a friend or anything else that feels like a core part of our identity but when your gut is telling you that something here isn’t right or feels unsafe, I really want you to listen and trust in that voice.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night.
Agatha Christie (Endless Night)
You can’t let people affect you. You’ve gotta stand up for what you think is right... even if you’re wrong. Especially if you know you’re wrong. Fuck ’em! All of ’em!
J.K. Franko (Eye for Eye (Talion #1))
What determines how we remember history and which elements are preserved and penetrate the collective consciousness? If historical novels stir your interest, pursue the facts, history, memories, and personal testimonies available. These are the shoulders that historical fiction sits upon. When the survivors are gone we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please, give them a voice.
Ruta Sepetys (Salt to the Sea)
When you touch a man's body, he will enjoy the moment, when you touch a man's heart he will remember it forever.
Dixie Waters
I bade her ‘night night,’ and I was already waiting to meet her.
Kumar Kinshuk (Ritualistic Murder - A Prequel to The Kanke Killings Trilogy)
As a citizen of the world, it’s my instinct to keep the fallen and the suffering in my thoughts. The human brain fascinates me; its limitless bounds of empathy. You see, in my mind there is logic to it: do no harm, prevent harm, help, support, care for the harmed, face the harmer. My stupid idealist conscience considers sympathy, not pity, at its worst, the most basic and the least negotiable civil duty. Of course as a citizen of the world, I should strive to do more. That said, I am only a man and so I often do the least.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
Sure didn’t expect to see that kind of assault, here in Oxford,” said another. “Seems like such a quiet town.
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
This must be what dying is like. She tried wiggling a bony finger to attract Rhiannon. She wanted to ask her: is this what it was like?
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
Two rapid shots were fired; the first shot directed at the woman, and the other shot to her companion.
Behcet Kaya (Murder on the Naval Base)
Can you not see," I said, "that fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and straightforward; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is in its nature essentially incredible? Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming. The problem of the fairy tale is—what will a healthy man do with a fantastic world? The problem of the modern novel is—what will a madman do with a dull world? In the fairy tales the cosmos goes mad; but the hero does not go mad. In the modern novels the hero is mad before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel sanity of the cosmos.
G.K. Chesterton
Prince Maxon surveyed the room and found me. Our eye met for a moment, and he smiled.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
I was trying to have an insight, and all I could think of was that I'd backed myself into a corner, and the corner was me.
John Welter (Night of the Avenging Blowfish: A Novel of Covert Operations, Love, and Luncheon Meat)
One thing was certain: he was my one. Most people go on their whole lives and never find their one, but I found mine. I found him when I was twelve-years-old.
Jennifer Edlund
A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.
Steven J. Daniels (Weeds in The Garden of Love)
If what's always distinguished bad writing--flat characters, a narrative world that's clichéd and not recognizably human, etc.--is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then [Bret] Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. Postmodern irony and cynicism's become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what's wrong, because they'll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony's gone from liberating to enslaving. There's some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who's come to love his cage… The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years. We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naïveté. Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent. You burn with hunger for food that does not exist. A U. S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness.
David Foster Wallace
What about that old coot?” Janet looked suspicious. Mr. Jeffreys was from the world of officialdom she despised.
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
Will they come if you whistle? If you can’t whistle loud enough, Teague here would be happy to help you out.
S.G. Blaise (The Last Lumenian (The Last Lumenian, #1))
This is your life – not your parents’, teachers’ or significant other’s. If you ever find yourself on a path that just doesn’t feel safe anymore, you have every right to stop the car, get out – change your shoes and start walking.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
Stand in the machine there, let’s see what state your internal organs are in. The images
will be projected on screen, and I can go through the diagnosis with you, step by step.”
Brown did as he was told and soon images of his vital organs appeared on the screen.
 As you can see, your heart is slightly enlarged and your lungs and kidneys are not in
good shape either. Have you been experiencing any pain lately?”
“Not that I can think of. What can you do to help?”
“Difficult to say, you see you are dying” said the Doctor. You can see the
discolouration in your kidneys.” Brown strained his eyes.
Max Nowaz (The Arbitrator)
We have a ball to attend tomorrow night. Assuming you don’t already have plans?” A slow sexy smile grew on his face. A ball? A new gown? With him? It could be worse.
J.J. Sorel (A Taste of Peace)
She was oozing backwards into the tree. Her bones were going to mate with the grain of the wood. I am becoming part of the forest.
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
As I stared into his shining gaze, there was something raw in the way his eyes trapped mine. It had become a wordless conversation that only my soul understood.
J.J. Sorel (A Taste of Peace)
From The Other Side, Uncle Roscoe was still exercising his Second Amendment rights. Protecting me from my stalker? Or was his gun going to get me killed?
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
You could have had an abortion.” “Mr. Ludefance, when I found out that I was pregnant, I never thought twice about getting rid of it. I could have so easily. But it was my choice to keep this baby.” “That was a brave choice to make.” “I have no regrets, Mr. Ludefance.
Behcet Kaya (Body In The Woods (Jack Ludefance, #2))
Once, she closed the book abruptly and said with annoyance, "That's enough." "Why?" "Because I've had it, it's always the same story: inside something small there's something even smaller that wants to leap out, and outside something large there's always someting larger that wants to keep it a prisoner.
Elena Ferrante (The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels, #2))
Which came first — the observer or the particle?
Vanna Bonta (Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel)
Sitting down on the bed, my mind went blank again. I laid my head on the pillow and closed my eyes. Dad is dead. My father is dead and I will never be able to talk to him again. I opened my eyes and checked the time. Almost 6am.
Behcet Kaya (Body In The Woods (Jack Ludefance, #2))
All novels . . . are concerned with the enigma of the self. As soon as you create an imaginary being, a character, you are automatically confronted by the question: what is the self? How can it be grasped?
Milan Kundera (The Art of the Novel)
....but talking to a ghost about a demon when you’re in a room full of people who can’t see either of them is not to be recommended.
Kerstin Gier (Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2))
It would ha' been a good deal easier, if ye'd only been a witch.
Diana Gabaldon (The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel)
A man who respects his wife, does not sleep with other women. And a woman who respects herself does not allow her husband to get away with it
Courtney Giardina (Tear Stained Beaches)
I never want you to deny anything about yourself because you have grown up thinking it’s unacceptable or inconvenient for the people around you.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
The Torc— and the crone— go to the underworld via the sacred well and the river.
Susan Rowland (The Sacred Well Murders)
It took me a moment to speak. My heart pumped madly as though I’d run for miles in pursuit of something vital. In this case, love.
J.J. Sorel (A Taste of Peace)
But I couldn’t help thinking—Who the hell eats bats? Probably nothing.
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
911. What is your emergency?” “Dead body.” “You’ll have to speak up. I can’t hear you.” “There’s a dead body in the woods!” “Where are you located?” “I’m on one of the trails off Summit Road in Wild Oaks Mountain Park. I’m near the summit.” “Can you be more specific?” “No, I can’t! Just get someone here!
Behcet Kaya (Body In The Woods (Jack Ludefance, #2))
This isn't your world. It's your parents. Your world is still out there, waiting to be discovered. Always remember that.
Carroll Bryant (Last Flight Out)
As a rule of thumb, it was always safer if the Commander-in-Chief formulated a risky plan.
Rowena Cherry (Forced Mate (God Princes of Tigron, #1))
I want to be able to fulfill someone’s heart’s desires and make them happy. Learn new things about life and have memorable experiences.
Charles Dyson (A Decade of Desire: Erotic Tales from the Charlie Doyle Diaries)
All cats are gray in the dark. And besides, her actions have less to do with her, and everything to do with you.
Jaye Frances (The Kure)
He would tell you to leave?” “Yes. He is…was a rude man, but it didn’t bother me. I was used to it. As I said, I’d gotten used to Mr. Hines. He is…was, despite his rudeness, a good boss. He never questioned me or my brother on how much we spent on the house. If there was something that needed fixing, he’d instruct my brother on what was to be done.
Behcet Kaya (Body In The Woods (Jack Ludefance, #2))
They all dreamt of each other that night, as was natural, considering how thin the partitions were between them, and how strangely they had been lifted off the earth to sit next each other in mid-ocean, and see every detail of each others' faces, and hear whatever they chanced to say.
Virginia Woolf (The Voyage Out)
This isn’t some sick sci-fi novel.
P.D. Alleva (The Rose Vol. 1)
When compared with what I have in mind for it, your property is blighted, dangerous, deteriorated, infectious, unhealthy, substandard, crime-infested, and irreparable. Once I have proven that, I will move in, and you will be moved away. You must leave so I can thrive.
Tom Baldwin (Macom Farm)
The boats raced towards each other like mounted knights bearing lances. They would hit like Somalian pirates, swiftly and under the cover of darkness.
Marilyn Dalla Valle (Westwind Secrets)
Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.
Alan Moore
When I write I feel like I can breathe. It’s like yoga for the brain.
Elise Stokes (Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula (Cassidy Jones Adventures, #1))
I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting and theme, and having once abandoned these familiar ways of thinking about fiction, totality of vision or structure was really all that remained.
John Hawkes
The trick at every turn was to endure the test of living for as long as possible. The odds of survival were punishingly slim, for the world was naught by a school of calamity and an endless burning furnace of tribulation. But those who survived the world shaped it--even as the world, simultaneously, shaped them.
Elizabeth Gilbert (The Signature of All Things)
I sat in my brown-belted gi at the painted metal table outside of Einstein’s and Peet’s with Mr. Ho, my Kenpo Karate instructor in his black-belted gi, and my bronze, canine psychologist, wearing his/her Lacoste eyeglasses.
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
Yea, I know, Fallen Angel got your tongue; it happens to the best of us.
Carl Novakovich (The Watchers: The Tomb)
The people knew what had made them human. It was not their shortcomings, but their hearts.
Vanna Bonta (Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel)
How you spend your time when you are not working or studying says everything about who you are and what is motivating your life.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
Yes, sir, I will,” there was a nervous edge in her voice, but now it was too late. Her session had begun.
Charles Dyson (A Decade of Desire: Erotic Tales from the Charlie Doyle Diaries)
I had never known the pleasure of reading, of exploring the recesses of the soul, of letting myself be carried away by imagination, beauty, and the mystery of fiction and language. For me all those things were born with that novel.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1))
Rough palms cradled my face while my fingers gripped the pillow on either side of his. Lips, teeth, tongue, mingled together. I ate him up and didn’t let go until I had to come up for air.
Priya Ardis
In the mantra of shared hatred and placing the blame on Israel, our cowardice to face the barbarity of our heads of states was replaced with a divine purpose. Contemplating the manifestation of the eradication of hatred I often concluded, the entirety of the Middle East’s theocracies and dictatorships would be replaced by total anarchy. We would be left with nothing, as our brotherhood of hatred was the only bond known to us. Enculturated in the malarkey of that demagoguery, forces beyond our control and comprehension seem to deceive us into a less harmful and satisfactory logic as opposed to placing some blame on ourselves and thus, having to act to reverse that state of affairs.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
Your realm? This is the Guardian’s and you’re just playing in his. You are nothing but a fragment of his world. A piece of it.
Marie Montine (Mourning Grey: Part Two)
Oh dios mio, she makes me burn, she makes me need. She is etching herself into mi alma
P.T. Macias (Hot & Spicy (De La Cruz Saga, #1))
If you want to write fiction, the best thing you can do is take two aspirins, lie down in a dark room, and wait for the feeling to pass.
Lawrence Block (Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print)
I imagined a time when being gay is as unquestioned and un-judged as is having blue eyes. Some might call it fantasy or science fiction. I’d like to think it’s the future.
Missouri Vaun (All Things Rise (Return to Earth #1))
With the right combination of Long Island blue heavens swimming in my bloodstream, I could be perfection.
Lee Matthew Goldberg (Stalker Stalked)
If I were a lesbian, I’d probably be one of those lipstick lesbians, which I of course had in my pocket for touch-ups later.
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
Cities controlled by big companies are old hat in science fiction. My grandmother left a whole bookcase of old science fiction novels. The company-city subgenre always seemed to star a hero who outsmarted, overthrew, or escaped "the company." I've never seen one where the hero fought like hell to get taken in and underpaid by the company. In real life, that's the way it will be. That's the way it always is.
Octavia E. Butler (Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1))
I’d like nothing more than to be your girl.” The words trembled out of my mouth. He took me into his arms and his lips touched mine. Tender and sweet, as though it was our first time.
J.J. Sorel (A Taste of Peace)
Whether I like it or not, most of my images of what various historical periods feel, smell, or sound like were acquired well before I set foot in any history class. They came from Margaret Mitchell, from Anya Seton, from M.M. Kaye, and a host of other authors, in their crackly plastic library bindings. Whether historians acknowledge it or not, scholarly history’s illegitimate cousin, the historical novel, plays a profound role in shaping widely held conceptions of historical realities.
Lauren Willig
But my philosophy is that plot advancement is not what the experience of reading fiction is about. If all we care about is advancing the plot, why read novels? We can just read Cliffs Notes.
George R.R. Martin
Emily’s fear of raising me—her panic at being a mother—lived in the air like an advancing lightning storm. I reminded myself how young she was, how scared. But I could only see her distress over my birth as a rejection. Her alarm was impossible not to take personally.
Jack Getze (Making Hearts)
Jack, this is Vance McGruder. I couldn’t find your cell number so I’m taking a chance on reaching you at the cottage. It’s Monday afternoon and I need you here as soon as possible. I’ve arranged for a one-way, first-class ticket on Delta Air Lines on their 3:15pm flight tomorrow afternoon to Atlanta and connecting on to LAX. I’ll have a car and driver at LAX to pick you up. Call me as soon as you get this message.
Behcet Kaya (Body In The Woods (Jack Ludefance, #2))
Nathan ran a palm over his forehead. He was on a mission with Taliban terrorists. His old sarge would be puking in his grave. He’d always maintained that the enemy of your enemy was still your fucking enemy.
Barry Kirwan (When the children come (Children of the Eye, #1))
Fiction had never been Jackson's thing. Facts seemed challenging enough without making stuff up. What he discovered was that the great novels of the world were about three things - death, money and sex. Occasionally a whale.
Kate Atkinson (Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie, #4))
The dull people decided years and years ago, as everyone knows, that novel-writing was the lowest species of literary exertion, and that novel reading was a dangerous luxury and an utter waste of time.
Wilkie Collins (My Miscellanies (1893))
We share a bond. We do everything together. We have a piece of strong, invisible thread connecting us. It’s indestructible – it can never be broken. The thread is the key item that links us together. We understand each other.
Erica Sehyun Song
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Ito finally, who had been keeping very quiet
up to this point.
“Indeed. How much will it cost?” asked Brown
“About twenty million Interplanetary Credits,” said Demba. “A modest investment for
a man of your means.”
“Indeed,” said Brown again. That was all the money he had, which started to strike
him as strange, when his thoughts were interrupted.
“We’ll arrange a visit to the mine,” said Ito. “Show you the place itself.”
“Indeed,” said Brown. Or had he said that? The strange waking memory he had fallen
into started to become repetitive. Reality started to flow back in.
Diamonds, thought Brown. All those diamonds in that mine.
Max Nowaz (The Arbitrator)
Immediately after that fate-filled evening in May, the phone booth in its entirety had been confiscated by the Homicide Unit as embodying significant criminal evidence of murder. More accurately, though, the booth was like an envelope encapsulating the entire crime scene, including splattered skull fragments.
Tom Baldwin (Macom Farm)
I noticed him right away. No, it wasn’t his lean, rugged face. Or the dark waves of shiny hair that hung just a little too long on his forehead. It wasn’t the slim, collarless biker jacket he wore, hugging his lean shoulders. It was the way he stood. The confident way he waited in the cafeteria line to get a slice of pizza. He didn’t saunter. He didn’t amble. He stood at the center, and let the other people buzz around him. His stance was straight and sure.
Priya Ardis (Ever My Merlin (My Merlin, #3))
Author's Note This is not so much an author's note as an author's reminder of what was printed in small type a few pages ago: This book is a work of fiction. I made it up. Neither novels or their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species. I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps.
Ann Patchett
In light of my distanced telescopic exposure to the mayhem, I refused to plagiarise others’ personal tragedies as my own. There is an authorship in misery that costs more than empathy. Often I’d found myself dumbstruck in failed attempts to simulate that particular unfamiliar dolour. After all, no one takes pleasure in being possessed by a wailing father collecting the decapitated head of his innocent six year old. Even on the hinge of a willing attempt at full empathy with those cursed with such catastrophes, one had to have a superhuman emotional powers. I could not, in any way, claim the ability to relate to those who have been forced to swallow the never-ending bitter and poisonous pills of our inherited misfortune. Yet that excruciating pain in my chest seemed to elicit a state of agony in me, even from far behind the telescope. It could have been my tribal gene amplified by the ripple effect of the falling, moving in me what was left of my humanity.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
But it’s not your world. I was fingerpainting and flicking through my dad’s art books while you slurped back cornflakes with a silver spoon.” I shook my head. “That’s bullshit.” “Oh?” She grinned. “I hate cornflakes. And I don’t slurp.
J.J. Sorel (A Taste of Peace)
Anya looked upon Nin admirably. Having him as a partner-in-crime—if only on this one occasion, which she hoped would only be the start of something more—was more revitalizing than the cheap thrills of a cookie-cutter shallow, superficial romance, where the top priority was how beautiful a person was on the outside.
Jess C. Scott (The Other Side of Life)
Sometimes the changes are good. Sometimes you think they're good and you end up disappointed. Other times you think life has handed you a lemon and it turn out to be a diamond. And there are other times when it just is what it is. It's not what you wanted, but there's nothing you can do about it, so you just have to accept what's happened and go on
Melodie Ramone (After Forever Ends)
All marriages have their bad sides, because people have weaknesses. If you live with another human being you learn to handle these weaknesses in a variety of ways. For instance, you might take the view that weaknesses are a bit like heavy pieces of furniture, and based on this you must learn to clean around them. To maintain the illusion.
Fredrik Backman (Britt-Marie var här)
I do believe that characters in novels belong to their writers and their readers pretty equally. I've learned a lot of things about the characters I write from people who read about them. Readers expand them in ways I don't think of and take them to places I can't go.
Ann Brashares
Lathis rattle against steel railings. Drenched half-naked men, some with torn shirts, jump up and down waving their fists. Some chant ‘Bande Mataram,’ others ‘Mazdur ki jai,’ whatever is their preference, the motherland or the brotherhood of workers. The hammer and sickle, red but limp, flaps like a half-dead fish against the trunk of a banyan tree. The sky cries monsoon tears; it has been crying all night.
Michael Tobert (Karna's Wheel)
In response to be asked about Boris Johnson becoming UK Prime Minister... "I'm delighted. As the UK continues to plunge ever faster into a future akin to a dystopian novel I'll never run out of material to write more books. Although now that reality is more bizarre than fiction maybe plot-lines will need to be more ambitious. Perhaps a book where Boris Johnson is really an accidental sentient snafu of Trump's scrotum lint. Kind of a sequel to the Bush-Blair story. I see musical rights being drawn up as we speak.
R.D. Ronald
I don't really care for fiction." "How can you not? The best thing about reading is to escape from your life, to be able to live hundreds or even thousands of different lives. Non-fiction doesn't have that power- it doesn't change you like fiction does." "Change you?" He raises his brow. "Yes, change you. If you aren't affected somehow, even in the slightest bit, you aren't reading the right book. I would like to think that every novel I've read has become a part of me, created who I am, in a sense.
Anna Todd (After We Collided (After, #2))
All my life and all my experience, the events that have befallen me, the people I have known, all my memories, dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto the compost heap, where over time it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it the imagination. I think of it as a compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost, and wait. It feeds on the black stuff that used to be a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates,. Takes root. Produces shoots. And so on and so forth, until one fine day I have a story, or a novel....Readers are fools. They believe all writing is autobiographical. And so it is, but not in the way they think. The writer's life needs time to rot away before it can be used to nourish a work of fiction. It must be allowed to decay.
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
And since a novel has this correspondence to real life, its values are to some extent those of real life. But it is obvious that the values of women differ very often from the values which have been made by the other sex; naturally this is so. Yet is it the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are "important"; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes "trivial." And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)
Katherine of Aragon was speaking out for the women of the country, for the good wives who should not be put aside just because their husbands had taken a fancy to another, for the women who walked the hard road between kitchen, bedroom, church and childbirth. For the women who deserved more than their husband's whim.
Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9))
In that moment, I finally figured out what kind of handsome he was. He was fiction-handsome. Romance novel handsome; but not the clean-cut (billionaire) alpha male or even the tattooed (billionaire) bad boy archetype. He was the Scottish highlander, Viking conqueror, bodice-ripper historical romance kind of handsome; an unshaven, lion wrestling, mountain man recluse, toss you over his shoulder and plunder your goodies kind of handsome. He was both scary and swoony. I wanted to braid his beard. I also wanted to run away.
Penny Reid (Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0))
His world closes in. The sky is endless no longer but pieced into squares of brick and bright cloths hanging down to dry. Underfoot, no longer stone but rubble, earth, the peelings and rotted scraps of the inedible. He smells the smoke of cooking fires, he hears men arguing and babies screaming like seagulls, he sees young women looking shyly down from high windows, exchanging glances. Now, he is no longer the watcher. Watched. Shouts echo in the dark between twisted walls and back alleys. A twisted smile in a doorway. A stranger’s voice. A stranger’s language.
Michael Tobert (Karna's Wheel)
Karṇa walks, his back is straight, he is lit up by his divine earings; yet his feet drag. He turns into an alley. His head droops and falls to his chest. He stops. Mist swirls around him, becomes motionless, parts. From between his ribs steps a young woman. Her eyes and face and tongue are brown like old blood and she is decked in old things and she wears upon her wrists two burnt black bracelets. She places the point of a knife under Karṇa’s chest plate and cuts, a gentle sawing motion, the blade moving beneath the skin, a slicing of the quick: nerves, blood vessels, sinews. I feel his pain; not a stab; it is insistent, enduring, but sharp nonetheless, as with any loss.
Michael Tobert (Karna's Wheel)
If it is a human thing to do to put something you want, because it's useful, edible, or beautiful, into a bag, or a basket, or a bit of rolled bark or leaf, or a net woven of your own hair, or what have you, and then take it home with you, home being another, larger kind of pouch or bag, a container for people, and then later on you take it out and eat it or share it or store it up for winter in a solider container or put it in the medicine bundle or the shrine or the museum, the holy place, the area that contains what is sacred, and then the next day you probably do much the same again—if to do that is human, if that's what it takes, then I am a human being after all. Fully, freely, gladly, for the first time.... [T]he proper, fitting shape of the novel might be that of a sack, a bag. A book holds words. Words hold things. They bear meanings. A novel is a medicine bundle, holding things in a particular, powerful relation to one another and to us." —"The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
Ursula K. Le Guin (Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places)
Until recently, I was an ebook sceptic, see; one of those people who harrumphs about the “physical pleasure of turning actual pages” and how ebook will “never replace the real thing”. Then I was given a Kindle as a present. That shut me up. Stock complaints about the inherent pleasure of ye olde format are bandied about whenever some new upstart invention comes along. Each moan is nothing more than a little foetus of nostalgia jerking in your gut. First they said CDs were no match for vinyl. Then they said MP3s were no match for CDs. Now they say streaming music services are no match for MP3s. They’re only happy looking in the rear-view mirror.
Charlie Brooker
Being a Dream Girl is never going to be about what you look like or how much you weigh. After all, our physical appearances are just reflections of our inner worlds. What makes you a Dream Girl is your emotional sensitivity, your self-awareness, and your ability to communicate who you are effectively and compassionately in the world.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
I've read hundreds of novels in my life, most of them claiming that love was the center of the universe. That it could heal any damage inside of us. That it was what we need to survive. From Darcy to Heathcliff I tought they were fools. That love was something fictional, only found in worn pages of a book. But all that has changed since I met my Elizabeth Bennet. I never thought I would find myself completely and utterly consumed by another until her. She took my hand and lead me out of the darkness and showed me that, whatever our souls are made for hers and mine are the same. You once asked me who I loved most in this world, it's you.
Hardin Scott
Sometimes I still feel that there are two of me: one clean, flawless picture, the other imperfect and cracked; one boy, one girl; one voice that speaks aloud and one that whispers in my ear; one publicly known to have been troubled but be on the mend, the other who has privately lost something to do with innocence and gained something to do with knowledge and adulthood that can never be undone. I feel sometimes there are things that tear me in two directions, that there are two sets of thoughts that grow side by side. But then I realize that I am whole, whatever that means and does not mean; I am complete without the need for additions or alteration.
Abigail Tarttelin (Golden Boy)
I used to be afraid about what people might say or think after reading what I had written. I am not afraid anymore, because when I write, I am not trying to prove anything to anyone, I am just expressing myself and my opinions. It’s ok if my opinions are different from those of the reader, each of us can have his own opinions. So writing is like talking, if you are afraid of writing, you may end up being afraid of talking
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind—mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.
J.G. Ballard (Crash)
And if I'm guilty of having gratuitous sex, then I'm also guilty of having gratuitous violence, and gratuitous feasting, and gratuitous description of clothes, and gratuitous heraldry, because very little of this is necessary to advance the plot. But my philosophy is that plot advancement is not what the experience of reading fiction is about. If all we care about is advancing the plot, why read novels? We can just read Cliffs Notes. A novel for me is an immersive experience where I feel as if I have lived it and that I've tasted the food and experienced the sex and experienced the terror of battle. So I want all of the detail, all of the sensory things—whether it's a good experience, or a bad experience, I want to put the reader through it. To that mind, detail is necessary, showing not telling is necessary, and nothing is gratuitous.
George R.R. Martin
There is, in fact, not much point in writing a novel unless you can show the possibility of moral transformation, or an increase in wisdom, operating in your chief character or characters. Even trashy bestsellers show people changing. When a fictional work fails to show change, when it merely indicates that human character is set, stony, unregenerable, then you are out of field of the novel and into that of the fable or the allegory. - from the introduction of the 1986 Norton edition
Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange)
I recommend readers to be adventurous and to try things they’ve never heard of or considered reading before. Get out of the comfort zone and discover something new and exciting. If you’d never be caught dead in the mystery section go and read some George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly or many others. If you only read thrillers get deep into the literary fiction aisle and let yourself be seduced. If you only read non-fiction pick up a Ian McDonald novel or a Joyce Carol Oates novel. If you only read comic books, get acquainted with the great Charles Dickens or a certain Monsieur Dumas. Pick up something at random and read a page. Feel the texture of the language, the architecture of the imagery, the perfume of the style… There’s so much beauty, intelligence and excitement to be had between the pages of the books waiting for you at your local bookstore the only thing you need to bring is an open mind and a sense of adventure. Disregard all prejudices, all pre-conceived notions and all the rubbish some people try to make you think. Think for yourself. Regarding books or anything in life. Think for yourself.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
You'd think the very thought of a romance writer would bring a smile to people's lips. Ah, how nice. Love. Making love. Laughter. Kissing. But no, the world is upside down as far as I can see, and romances and their writers are ridiculed, hisses and generally spat upon. For what reason? One of my favorites is that women who read them might get mixed up about reality and imagine a man is going to rescue them from Life. According to this theory, women are so stupid that they can't tell a story from reality. Is anyone worried that the MEN who read spy thrillers are going to go after their neighbors with an automatic weapon? No, I don't remember anyone thinking that. Nor do I remember anyone worrying about murder mysteries or science fiction. It just seems to be dumb ol' women who might think some gorgeous, thoughtful, giving hunk is going to rescue them. Honey, if any woman thought a gorgeous hunk was going to rescue her, romance novels wouldn’t be forty percent of the publishing industry.
Jude Deveraux (Remembrance)
All fiction is metaphor. Science fiction is metaphor. What sets it apart from older forms of fiction seems to be its use of new metaphors, drawn from certain great dominants of our contemporary life -- science, all the sciences, and technology, and the relativistic and the historical outlook, among them. Space travel is one of these metaphors; so is an alternative society, an alternative biology; the future is another. The future, in fiction, is a metaphor. A metaphor for what? If I could have said it non-metaphorically, I would not have written all these words, this novel; and Genly Ai would never have sat down at my desk and used up my ink and typewriter ribbon in informing me, and you, rather solemnly, that the truth is a matter of the imagination.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Interviewer ...In the case of "American Psycho" I felt there was something more than just this desire to inflict pain--or that Ellis was being cruel the way you said serious artists need to be willing to be. DFW: You're just displaying the sort of cynicism that lets readers be manipulated by bad writing. I think it's a kind of black cynicism about today's world that Ellis and certain others depend on for their readership. Look, if the contemporary condition is hopelessly shitty, insipid, materialistic, emotionally retarded, sadomasochistic, and stupid, then I (or any writer) can get away with slapping together stories with characters who are stupid, vapid, emotionally retarded, which is easy, because these sorts of characters require no development. With descriptions that are simply lists of brand-name consumer products. Where stupid people say insipid stuff to each other. If what's always distinguished bad writing -- flat characters, a narrative world that's cliched and not recognizably human, etc. -- is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. You can defend "Psycho" as being a sort of performative digest of late-eighties social problems, but it's no more than that.
David Foster Wallace
Literature is a source of pleasure, he said, it is one of the rare inexhaustible joys in life, but it's not only that. It must not be disassociated from reality. Everything is there. That is why I never use the word fiction. Every subtlety in life is material for a book. He insisted on the fact. Have you noticed, he'd say, that I'm talking about novels? Novels don't contain only exceptional situations, life or death choices, or major ordeals; there are also everyday difficulties, temptations, ordinary disappointments; and, in response, every human attitude, every type of behavior, from the finest to the most wretched. There are books where, as you read, you wonder: What would I have done? It's a question you have to ask yourself. Listen carefully: it is a way to learn to live. There are grown-ups who would say no, that literature is not life, that novels teach you nothing. They are wrong. Literature performs, instructs, it prepares you for life.
Laurence Cossé (A Novel Bookstore)
I think Dr. Willis McNelly at the California State University at Fullerton put it best when he said that the true protagonist of an sf story or novel is an idea and not a person. If it is *good* sf the idea is new, it is stimulating, and, probably most important of all, it sets off a chain-reaction of ramification-ideas in the mind of the reader; it so-to-speak unlocks the reader’s mind so that the mind, like the author’s, begins to create. Thus sf is creative and it inspires creativity, which mainstream fiction by-and-large does not do. We who read sf (I am speaking as a reader now, not a writer) read it because we love to experience this chain-reaction of ideas being set off in our minds by something we read, something with a new idea in it; hence the very best since fiction ultimately winds up being a collaboration between author and reader, in which both create and enjoy doing it: joy is the essential and final ingredient of science fiction, the joy of discovery of newness.
Philip K. Dick (Paycheck and Other Classic Stories)
Just as the universal family of gifted writers transcends national barriers, so is the gifted reader a universal figure, not subject to spatial or temporal laws. It is he—the good, the excellent reader—who has saved the artists again and again from being destroyed by emperors, dictators, priests, puritans, philistines, political moralists, policemen, postmasters, and prigs. Let me define this admirable reader. He does not belong to any specific nation or class. No director of conscience and no book club can manage his soul. His approach to a work of fiction is not governed by those juvenile emotions that make the mediocre reader identify himself with this or that character and “skip descriptions.” The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book. The admirable reader does not seek information about Russia in a Russian novel, for he knows that the Russia of Tolstoy or Chekhov is not the average Russia of history but a specific world imagined and created by individual genius. The admirable reader is not concerned with general ideas; he is interested in the particular vision. He likes the novel not because it helps him to get along with the group (to use a diabolical progressive-school cliche); he likes the novel because he imbibes and understands every detail of the text, enjoys what the author meant to be injoyed, beams inwardly and all over, is thrilled by the magic imageries of the master-forger, the fancy-forger, the conjuror, the artist. Indeed of all the characters that a great artist creates, his readers are the best. (“Russian Writers, Censors, and Readers”)
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Russian Literature)
Real love isn't ambivalent. I'd swear that's a line from my favorite best-selling paperback novel, "In Love with the Night Mysterious", except I don't think you've ever read it. Well, you ought to, instead of spending the rest of your life, trying to get through "Democracy in America." It's about this white woman whose daddy owns a plantation in the Deep South, in the years before the Civil War. And her name is Margaret, and she's in love with her daddy's number-one slave, and his name is Thaddeus. And she's married, but her white slave-owner husband has AIDS: Antebellum Insufficiently-Developed Sex-organs. And so, there's a lot of hot stuff going down, when Margaret and Thaddeus can catch a spare torrid ten under the cotton-picking moon. And then of course the Yankees come, and they set the slaves free. And the slaves string up old daddy and so on, historical fiction. Somewhere in there I recall, Margaret and Thaddeus find the time to discuss the nature of love. Her face is reflecting the flames of the burning plantation, you know the way white people do, and his black face is dark in the night and she says to him, "Thaddeus, real love isn't ever ambivalent.
Tony Kushner (Millennium Approaches (Angels in America, #1))
It was Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the television series, 1997-2003, not the lackluster movie that preceded it) that blazed the trail for Twilight and the slew of other paranormal romance novels that followed, while also shaping the broader urban fantasy field from the late 1990s onward. Many of you reading this book will be too young to remember when Buffy debuted, so you'll have to trust us when we say that nothing quite like it had existed before. It was thrillingly new to see a young, gutsy, kick-ass female hero, for starters, and one who was no Amazonian Wonder Woman but recognizably ordinary, fussing about her nails, her shoes, and whether she'd make it to her high school prom. Buffy's story contained a heady mix of many genres (fantasy, horror, science-fiction, romance, detective fiction, high school drama), all of it leavened with tongue-in-cheek humor yet underpinned by the serious care with which the Buffy universe had been crafted. Back then, Whedon's dizzying genre hopping was a radical departure from the norm-whereas today, post-Buffy, no one blinks an eye as writers of urban fantasy leap across genre boundaries with abandon, penning tender romances featuring werewolves and demons, hard-boiled detective novels with fairies, and vampires-in-modern-life sagas that can crop up darn near anywhere: on the horror shelves, the SF shelves, the mystery shelves, the romance shelves.
Ellen Datlow (Teeth: Vampire Tales)
O: You’re quite a writer. You’ve a gift for language, you’re a deft hand at plotting, and your books seem to have an enormous amount of attention to detail put into them. You’re so good you could write anything. Why write fantasy? Pratchett: I had a decent lunch, and I’m feeling quite amiable. That’s why you’re still alive. I think you’d have to explain to me why you’ve asked that question. O: It’s a rather ghettoized genre. P: This is true. I cannot speak for the US, where I merely sort of sell okay. But in the UK I think every book— I think I’ve done twenty in the series— since the fourth book, every one has been one the top ten national bestsellers, either as hardcover or paperback, and quite often as both. Twelve or thirteen have been number one. I’ve done six juveniles, all of those have nevertheless crossed over to the adult bestseller list. On one occasion I had the adult best seller, the paperback best-seller in a different title, and a third book on the juvenile bestseller list. Now tell me again that this is a ghettoized genre. O: It’s certainly regarded as less than serious fiction. P: (Sighs) Without a shadow of a doubt, the first fiction ever recounted was fantasy. Guys sitting around the campfire— Was it you who wrote the review? I thought I recognized it— Guys sitting around the campfire telling each other stories about the gods who made lightning, and stuff like that. They did not tell one another literary stories. They did not complain about difficulties of male menopause while being a junior lecturer on some midwestern college campus. Fantasy is without a shadow of a doubt the ur-literature, the spring from which all other literature has flown. Up to a few hundred years ago no one would have disagreed with this, because most stories were, in some sense, fantasy. Back in the middle ages, people wouldn’t have thought twice about bringing in Death as a character who would have a role to play in the story. Echoes of this can be seen in Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, which hark back to a much earlier type of storytelling. The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest works of literature, and by the standard we would apply now— a big muscular guys with swords and certain godlike connections— That’s fantasy. The national literature of Finland, the Kalevala. Beowulf in England. I cannot pronounce Bahaghvad-Gita but the Indian one, you know what I mean. The national literature, the one that underpins everything else, is by the standards that we apply now, a work of fantasy. Now I don’t know what you’d consider the national literature of America, but if the words Moby Dick are inching their way towards this conversation, whatever else it was, it was also a work of fantasy. Fantasy is kind of a plasma in which other things can be carried. I don’t think this is a ghetto. This is, fantasy is, almost a sea in which other genres swim. Now it may be that there has developed in the last couple of hundred years a subset of fantasy which merely uses a different icongraphy, and that is, if you like, the serious literature, the Booker Prize contender. Fantasy can be serious literature. Fantasy has often been serious literature. You have to fairly dense to think that Gulliver’s Travels is only a story about a guy having a real fun time among big people and little people and horses and stuff like that. What the book was about was something else. Fantasy can carry quite a serious burden, and so can humor. So what you’re saying is, strip away the trolls and the dwarves and things and put everyone into modern dress, get them to agonize a bit, mention Virginia Woolf a few times, and there! Hey! I’ve got a serious novel. But you don’t actually have to do that. (Pauses) That was a bloody good answer, though I say it myself.
Terry Pratchett
Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress... Actually, when you think about it, not many novels in the Spare tradition are terribly cheerful. Jokes you can usually pluck out whole, by the roots, so if you're doing some heavy-duty prose-weeding, they're the first to go. And there's some stuff about the whole winnowing process I just don't get. Why does it always stop when the work in question has been reduced to sixty or seventy thousand words--entirely coincidentally, I'm sure, the minimum length for a publishable novel? I'm sure you could get it down to twenty or thirty if you tried hard enough. In fact, why stop at twenty or thirty? Why write at all? Why not just jot the plot and a couple of themes down on the back of an envelope and leave it at that? The truth is, there's nothing very utilitarian about fiction or its creation, and I suspect that people are desperate to make it sound manly, back-breaking labor because it's such a wussy thing to do in the first place. The obsession with austerity is an attempt to compensate, to make writing resemble a real job, like farming, or logging. (It's also why people who work in advertising put in twenty-hour days.) Go on, young writers--treat yourself to a joke, or an adverb! Spoil yourself! Readers won't mind!
Nick Hornby (The Polysyllabic Spree)
Reading for me, was like breathing. It was probably akin to masturbation for my brain. Getting off on the fantasy within the pages of a good novel felt necessary to my survival. If I wasn't asleep, knitting, or working, I was reading. This was for several reasons, all of them focused around the infititely superior and enviable lives of fictional heroines to real-life people. Take romans for instance. Fictional women in romance novels never get their period. They never have morning breath. They orgasm seventeen times a day. And they never seem to have jobs with bosses. These clean, well-satisfied, perm-minty-breathed women have fulfilling careers as florists, bakery owners, hair stylists or some other kind of adorable small business where they decorate all day. If they do have a boss, he's a cool guy (or gal) who's invested in the woman's love life. Or, he's a super hot billionaire trying to get in her pants. My boss cares about two things: Am I on time ? Are all my patients alive and well at the end of my shift? And the mend in the romance novels are too good to be true; but I love it, and I love them. Enter stage right the independently wealthy venture capitalist suffering from the ennui of perfection until a plucky interior decorator enters stage left and shakes up his life and his heart with perky catch phrases and a cute nose that wrinkles when she sneezes. I suck at decorating. The walls of my apartment are bare. I am allergic to most store-bought flowers. If I owned a bakery, I'd be broke and weigh seven hundred pounds, because I love cake.
Penny Reid (Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0))
Does rough weather choose men over women? Does the sun beat on men, leaving women nice and cool?' Nyawira asked rather sharply. 'Women bear the brunt of poverty. What choices does a woman have in life, especially in times of misery? She can marry or live with a man. She can bear children and bring them up, and be abused by her man. Have you read Buchi Emecheta of Nigeria, Joys of Motherhood? Tsitsi Dangarembga of Zimbabwe, say, Nervous Conditions? Miriama Ba of Senegal, So Long A Letter? Three women from different parts of Africa, giving words to similar thoughts about the condition of women in Africa.' 'I am not much of a reader of fiction,' Kamiti said. 'Especially novels by African women. In India such books are hard to find.' 'Surely even in India there are women writers? Indian women writers?' Nyawira pressed. 'Arundhati Roy, for instance, The God of Small Things? Meena Alexander, Fault Lines? Susie Tharu. Read Women Writing in India. Or her other book, We Were Making History, about women in the struggle!' 'I have sampled the epics of Indian literature,' Kamiti said, trying to redeem himself. 'Mahabharata, Ramayana, and mostly Bhagavad Gita. There are a few others, what they call Purana, Rig-Veda, Upanishads … Not that I read everything, but …' 'I am sure that those epics and Puranas, even the Gita, were all written by men,' Nyawira said. 'The same men who invented the caste system. When will you learn to listen to the voices of women?
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (Wizard of the Crow)
Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion. No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written. Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market. The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail. Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence. I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go. Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor. Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs. Every new novel stretches the term of the contract—let me live long enough to do one more book. You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
Don DeLillo
Jonathan Safran Foer’s 10 Rules for Writing: 1.Tragedies make great literature; unfathomable catastrophes (the Holocaust, 9/11) are even better – try to construct your books around them for added gravitas but, since those big issues are such bummers, make sure you do it in a way that still focuses on a quirky central character that’s somewhat like Jonathan Safran Foer. 2. You can also name your character Jonathan Safran Foer. 3. If you’re writing a non-fiction book you should still make sure that it has a strong, deep, wise, and relatable central character – someone like Jonathan Safran Foer. 4. If you reach a point in your book where you’re not sure what to do, or how to approach a certain scene, or what the hell you’re doing, just throw in a picture, or a photo, or scribbles, or blank pages, or some illegible text, or maybe even a flipbook. Don’t worry if these things don’t mean anything, that’s what postmodernism is all about. If you’re not sure what to put in, you can’t go wrong with a nice photograph of Jonathan Safran Foer. 5. If you come up with a pun, metaphor, or phrase that you think is really clever and original, don’t just use it once and throw it away, sprinkle it liberally throughout the text. One particularly good phrase that comes to mind is “Jonathan Safran Foer.” 6. Don’t worry if you seem to be saying the same thing over and over again, repetition makes the work stronger, repetition is good, it drives the point home. The more you repeat a phrase or an idea, the better it gets. You should not be afraid of repeating ideas or phrases. One particularly good phrase that comes to mind is “Jonathan Safran Foer.” 7. Other writers are not your enemies, they are your friends, so you should feel free to borrow some of their ideas, words, techniques, and symbols, and use them completely out of context. They won’t mind, they’re your friends, just like my good friend Paul Auster, with whom I am very good friends. Just make sure you don’t steal anything from Jonathan Safran Foer, it wouldn’t be nice, he is your friend. 8. Make sure you have exactly three plots in your novel, any more and it gets confusing, any less and it’s not postmodern. At least one of those plots should be in a different timeline. It often helps if you name these three plots, I often use “Jonathan,” “Safran,” and “Foer.” 9. Don’t be afraid to make bold statements in you writing, there should always be a strong lesson to be learned, such as “don’t eat animals,” or “the Holocaust was bad,” or “9/11 was really really sad,” or “the world would be a better place if everyone was just a little bit more like Jonathan Safran Foer.” 10. In the end, don’t worry if you’re unsuccessful as a writer, it probably wasn’t meant to be. Not all of us are chosen to become writers. Not all of us can be Jonathan Safran Foer.
Jonathan Safran Foer
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith: Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished. I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single. He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower. If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful. Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little. As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud. She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt. Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. “You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!” He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq. She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare! If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity. He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal. Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends? Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad. The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans. Silence filled the room like tear gas. The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time. Happiness is the best cosmetic, He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait. Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang, Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect. During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading. Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over. His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah. The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free. Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus. The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo. Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus. When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy. Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace. Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’ Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost. Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply. Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris. America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won. Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel. Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious. So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks. If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded. It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither. In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay. Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon. In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans. With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Brent Reilly