Monday, October 22, 2007

Tongue in Cheek?

Shari of Literally Blind-Sided tagged me to do a post about writing.

I’m late responding – my apologies, Shari.

Apparently there are no rules or regulations to this tag (or none that I could see) so I’m doing my own thing.

And my thing is this: A brief list of quotations on the subject of writing that I find humorous, inspirational and to the point.

“Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very." Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

Mark Twain

“Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.”

Author Unknown

“Be obscure clearly.”

E.B. White

“A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one.”

Baltasar Gracián

“As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out.”

Mark Twain

The quotation below differs from the above – and speaks to me on a very personal level.

“I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

Joan Didion

No tagging from Beth on this one – but if you’ve got a good quotation or thought to add, please do.


Sherry said...

I don't have a quote to share but I do like these ones you've chosen...I especially like the insightful.

Shari said...

Cool. That's neat. I liked that idea of quotes.

I am used to it, because there are so many ways to spell my name, but it was spelt wrong. It's okay. I would rather have it spelled they way you did, though. I had an aunt who put "Cheri" on my Christmas cards. :)

Bec said...

beautiful quotes. next challenge: favourite poem
(something I've been thinking about)

Beth said...

Could have chosen from so many of Didion's wonderful words!

I corrected the spelling. Can't believe I did that! I am (usually) very sensitive as to the spelling of names, etc.
(And I get infuriated when someone calls me "Liz" after I introduce myself as Elisabeth.)

Do the favourite poem challenge. I'll join in but it will be tough choosing just one.

Mrs. G. said...

I am definitely going to try substituting damn for very. Mark Twain is such a gem and damn smart.
One of the assignments I do with my creative writing students is to have them write a two page story using NO adjectives. For teens, this is near to impossible.

Pavel said...

I love the synonym quote!

Lainey-Paney said...

my fave: the synonym quote.

Beth said...

mrs. g:
No adjectives at all?? Never mind the teens - that would be just about impossible for me, too.
(You sound like a damn good teacher.)

It's a good one - and probably quite true.

Popular choice!

Princess Pointful said...

Love the first quote. I am still finding ways to make my writing more concise!

Beth said...

princess pointful:
Your writing style is beautiful - a pleasure to read.

Gardener Greg said...

I couldn't write if it weren't for words that mean the same thing. :)

There is an old southern quote that goes: "yall come back now, ya hear". My MIL wanted to get some pens that said that on them so she sent in an order to a company in Michigan. The pens came back saying: "You will come back". Someone corrected it for us. :)

Beth said...

gardener greg:
That Michigan company was a tad over zealous in their compunction to get it right...

Gary said...

Oh my new friend Beth...don't get me going. I love quotes (and writing). Try these:

No man should ever publish a book until he has first read it to a woman. - Van Wyck Brooks

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. - Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
- William Wordsworth

A metaphor is like a simile.
- Author Unknown

'Fuck' isn't a word, it's really just punctuation.
- Mike Clattenberg, Writer/Producer of Trailer Park Boys

(Sorry if you'd rather not have the F-word here...)

Beth said...

I love them all - my favourite is #1.
And I'm fine with the F-word (just ask my kids). You probably boosted my blog to an R-rating.

How about this one?

"All first drafts are shit."
Ernest Hemingway

cipriano said...

Beth, one of my favorite writing quotes is the following:

"There's 26 letters in the alphabet. I jumble them up."
-- Mordecai Richler --

Is that awesome, or what?
He jumbled them REAL GOOD.
I think Richler is fabulous!
-- Cip

Beth said...

I love that one! Would that I had the skill to jumble letters as Richler did. (I miss him.)

Angela said...

Hmmmmm. I love that last one so very much. I'm sure that's why I write, too. Thank you for posting those. The Mark Twain quotations are priceless.

Here's one of my favorites:

"Eschew obfuscation; espouse elucidation."


Beth said...

I can see (from your blog) why the Didion quotation would appeal to you.

And I LOVE the word eschew!

patricia said...

Love these quotes.

And Cippy stole MY fave quote, dammit! I love Richler's take on writing.

Beth said...

I can't believe I'd never seen that Richler quotation before.
Thankfully, either via you or Cip, it would have come to my attention!