ljlee: (peach_moved)
[personal profile] ljlee posting in [community profile] go_write
Do you have any quotes or advice, whether directly related to writing or not, that you find uplifting, thought-provoking, or otherwise helpful in your writing?

I'm a bit of a quotes hound, and lately I found this bit  from an interview to be inspirational for my own project:

I believe fiction is also a kind of history. Even historical sources from modern times and later may consist of constructed documents, and sometimes fiction may tell the truth better than truth itself.
- Jong-il Rah, Professor Emeritus at Gacheon University and biography author

This gave me a big confidence boost because I'm writing about a real-life figure who lived too long ago (1st century B.C.) and about whom too few sources remain to write a proper biography. I fully acknowledge my project is a novel and not a biography, but it's heartening to think that I'm telling the story of my heroine's life in my own way.

Here's another part from the same interview that resonated with me:

The greatest injustice is to silence a person. . . . The elders used to tell me, if someone dies without having their say their untold story will return to haunt us. The North Korean regime [which executed former second-in-command Sung-taek Jang, the subject of Professor Rah's biography] might have thought they could erase a person's being by killing the body, but the past doesn't disappear like that.
- Jong-il Rah

There's something comforting about the thought that stories are durable across time and will outlast the destruction of bodies, evidence, and last words. You can steal the breath from a person but not their words; their words will be freed of their confines and float on the winds of the world until someone hears their music and breathes them into life again. In this way stories, no matter how crushed and silenced, will swirl around and around until they are heard. I would like to believe this is true.

Date: 2016-05-12 10:38 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (A most terrible case of the Star Wars)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I'm very very fond of The Old Astronomer to His Pupil, especially the last line: I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

I am also very fond of Ursula LeGuin on writing what you know and Ursula Vernon on editing.

I am also fond of King Sneferu's pyramids, Just because you're trash doesn't mean you can't do great things; it is called garbage can, not garbage cannot and the motto TO THINE OWN SITH BE TRUE (from The Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge) -- idk, I find it strangely motivating.

Date: 2016-05-13 09:58 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
UKL is super on point. I know these stories and worlds better than anyone else -- why shouldn't I tell them?

Date: 2016-05-13 04:05 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
I love quotes as well, and I don't think I save enough of them.

The latest one I noted was Mark Strand: "Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell other things. I think being alive is responding."

And Lorin Stein: "More than ever, we need writers who are unprofessional, whose private worlds come first."

Márquez: "What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it." I tend to think of that when I'm looking at character perceptions and truth vs fact (a consideration I picked up from The Things They Carried, incidentally).

Then there are the ones stuck to the wall above my desk.

Doctorow, which will always have a spot above my desk: "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

A little newspaper clipping of an interview with Helen Mirren: "And then maybe (I've) got a project coming up, and I get really nervous because I think, 'I can't do that.' Then, of course, you start and you realize, 'Oh yes, I can. This is what I do. This is my job.'"

Jane Austen: "I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on till I am."

For whatever reason, the quote from Dune: "God created Arrakis to train the faithful." The sound and rhythm of that sentence always strikes me.

Of Monsters and Men lyrics that saved me when I was first getting my life back in order and starting to write this book: "There's an old voice in my head that's holding me back / Well, tell her that I miss our little talks.

And then I always appreciate quotes that connect to my specific work, so I have Longfellow up there - no words can better capture my character: "And when she was good, she was very, very good / But when she was bad, she was horrid."

Date: 2016-05-16 04:19 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
Totally forgot about the fear one. I used to come back to that one a lot. Petty irritations, though - I actually saw the Dune miniseries before I read the book, where they trimmed that quote down by about half: "I will not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. I will face my fear, I will let it pass through me. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain." So it got stuck in my head that way, flow-wise, to where the actual thing seemed wordy when I read it. Sigh.

It does make me think about different forms of media, though, and the impact of hearing a quote versus reading it. I don't think one is blanketly more powerful than the other, but for any given quote and a person's relationship to it, I have a feeling that one format or the other ends up winning out.


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