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I'm a writer first and an editor second...
by Lynn Abbey

I'm a writer first and an editor second...
or maybe third or even fourth.
Successful editing requires a very specific set of skills,
and I don't claim to have all of them at my command.
- Lynn Abbey

Editors of open anthologies actively seek submissions from all comers,
established and unknown.
They are willing to read whatever the tide washes up at their feet.
- Lynn Abbey

Neophyte writers tend to believe that there is something
magical about ideas and that if they can just get a hold of a good one,
then their futures are ensured.
- Lynn Abbey

When I have an idea, it goes from vague,
cloudy notion to 100,000 words in a heartbeat.
- Lynn Abbey

 

No one uses a ribbon typewriter any more,
but your final draft is not the time to try to wring
a few more sheets out of your inkjet cartridge.
- Lynn Abbey

I think my prose reads as if English were my second language.
By the time I get to the end of a paragraph,
I'm dodging bullets and gasping for breath.
- Lynn Abbey

I write sets of books, but I've also written a lot of orphans.
- Lynn Abbey

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During the many centuries that magic,
here on this planet, was presumed to have worked,
there were at least as many theories as to how magic
worked as there were cultures and religions.
- Lynn Abbey

One of my great passions is the collection of historical trivia.
- Lynn Abbey

My writing has to support more than my research habit,
but I love to curl up with a book about some dusty corner of history.
- Lynn Abbey

I'm always trolling for trivia.
- Lynn Abbey

There is nothing that compares to an unexpected round of applause.
- Lynn Abbey

It's been a long time since I've written old-fashioned sword and sorcery;
I'm hoping it's like riding a bicycle.
- Lynn Abbey

The money can be decent, but I really don't recommend
the work-for-hire route as an entry into publishing.
Too many things can go wrong.
- Lynn Abbey

It's possible to become so comfortable with one's style
and structure that one ceases to grow.
- Lynn Abbey

For me, writing a short story is much,
much harder than writing a novel.
- Lynn Abbey

That bedrock faith that I could write was what blinded
me to attempts to discourage me.
- Lynn Abbey

I've read short stories that are as dense as a 19th
century novel and novels that really are short stories
filled with a lot of helium.
- Lynn Abbey

A good short-story writer has an instinct for sketching
in just enough background to ground the specific story.
- Lynn Abbey

Once you've invested hundreds of hours in creating a coherent universe,
your story's grown to around a half-million words and
can't be written as anything less than a trilogy.
- Lynn Abbey

I'm dense when it comes to discouragement.
- Lynn Abbey

I'm not constrained by being a genre writer.
Any story I can imagine, I can cast as a fantasy novel
and probably get it published.
- Lynn Abbey

Ideas aren't magical; the only tricky part is holding
on to one long enough to get it written down.
- Lynn Abbey

It took me about 12 years to reach my million-word mark.
The challenge now is to continue to challenge myself.
- Lynn Abbey

When I'm not writing or tweaking my computer,
I do embroidery.
When I'm not plunging into the past,
tweaking,
or embroidering, I'm reading books about history,
computers, or embroidery.
- Lynn Abbey

If you write, one of the questions you're always trying to answer is,
Where do you get your ideas? And, if you write,
you know how pointless a question this is and how difficult it is to answer.
- Lynn Abbey

Short-story writing requires an exquisite sense of balance.
Novelists, frankly, can get away with more.
A novel can have a dull spot or two,
because the reader has made a different commitment.
- Lynn Abbey

I'm one of those writers who, when writing,
believes she's god-and that she hasn't bestowed free
will on any of her characters.
In that sense there are no surprises in any of my books.
- Lynn Abbey

I do have a small collection of traditional SF ideas
which I've never been able to sell.
I'm known as a fantasy writer and neither my agent
nor my editors want to risk my brand by jumping genre.
- Lynn Abbey

A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears.
- Gertrude Stein

The writer, when he is also an artist,
is someone who admits what others don't dare reveal.
- Elia Kazan

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say,
but what we are unable to say.
- Anais Nin

When you take stuff from one writer it's plagiarism;
but when you take it from many writers,
it's research.
- Wilson Mizner

If you're a singer you lose your voice.
A baseball player loses his arm.
A writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good,
the older he gets, the better he writes.
- Mickey Spillane

I was never a quick writer, but composed with great care and efforts.
- Joseph Haydn

The good parts of a book may be only something a writer
is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck
of his whole damn life and one is as good as the other.
- Ernest Hemingway

An incinerator is a writer's best friend.
- Thornton Wilder

I was quite a reader before I became a writer.
- Tom T. Hall

A person is a fool to become a writer.
His only compensation is absolute freedom.
- Roald Dahl

I am a writer who happens to love women.
I am not a lesbian who happens to write.
- Jeanette Winterson

Chemistry is not anything an executive producer or
writer can orchestrate or plan;
you just hope for it.
- David E. Kelley

Oftentimes what happens is that the writer understands one character,
but they don't understand the other one,
and the other one ends up not being written as well.
- Jennifer Beals

The creative act is not pure.
History evidences it.
Sociology extracts it.
The writer loses Eden, writes to be read and comes
to realize that he is answerable.
- Nadine Gordimer

I became a writer in spite of my environments.
- Robert E. Howard

I don't think any good book is based on factual experience.
Bad books are about things the writer already knew before he wrote them.
- Carlos Fuentes

The best way to become a successful writer is to read good writing,
remember it, and then forget where you remember it from.
- Gene Fowler

For me, there is nothing worse than the knowledge that
my life holds nothing for me but being a writer.
- Jean Stafford

No writer, no matter how gifted, immortalizes himself
unless he has crystallized into expressive and original
phrase the eternal sentiments and yearnings of the human heart.
- Alfred de Vigny

As a very experienced writer once told me,
'It's in the rewrites'.
- Tom Skerritt

That writer does the most who gives his reader the
most knowledge and takes from him the least time.
- Charles Caleb Colton

The hard necessity of bringing the judge on the bench
down into the dock has been the peculiar responsibility
of the writer in all ages of man.
- Nelson Algren

The more books we read, the clearer it becomes that
the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece
and that no other task is of any consequence.
- Cyril Connolly

I've often said that there's no such thing as writer's block;
the problem is idea block.
- Jeffery Deaver

Men like women who write.
Even though they don't say so.
A writer is a foreign country.
- Marguerite Duras

He invented this idea of telling the life story of
a great writer through becoming his characters and becoming him.
It was such a pleasure and I thought we must find another writer.
- Simon Callow

When you're in the States and you're a writer and you've
got money and you walk into a bank,
you're a bum with money.
- Norman Spinrad

It's a responsibility of the writer to get the reader
out of the story somehow.
- Michael Ondaatje

Paper and ink are all but trash, if I cannot find the
thought which the writer did think.
- Walter Smith

I thought they would never select an Eastern writer for the Nobel.
I was surprised.
- Naguib Mahfouz

In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.
- John Steinbeck

A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.
- Dean Acheson

I write music all the time.
When I talk about having writer's block,
it's more to do with lyrics than anything else.
- Sarah McLachlan

If I were a writer, how I would enjoy being told the novel is dead.
How liberating to work in the margins,
outside a central perception.
You are the ghoul of literature.
Lovely.
- Don DeLillo

The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes,
in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer
to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning.
- Winston Churchill

Ernest Hemingway did a great deal toward making the
writer an acceptable public figure;
obviously,
he was no sissy.
- Irwin Shaw

There is no mistaking the dismay on the face of a writer
who has just heard that his brain child is a deformed idiot.
- L. Sprague de Camp

I had always wanted to be a writer who confused genre
boundaries and who was read in multiple contexts.
- Jonathan Lethem

I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe
in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor
any membership in literature.
- John Steinbeck

I don't call myself a writer.
- Bruce Boxleitner

Sean's a great, great writer.
- Robin Wright Penn

God, I'm such a lazy writer - I can't even think up new names.
- Dennis Potter


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