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Quotes & Sayings About Writing Nonfiction

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Top Writing Nonfiction Quotes

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Thomas De Quincey

But my way of writing is rather to think aloud, and follow my own humours, than much to consider who is listening to me; and, if I stop to consider what is proper to be said to this or that person, I shall soon come to doubt whether any part at all is proper. — Thomas De Quincey

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Edwidge Danticat

After writing fiction for so long, I like the discovery element of nonfiction, in the sense that when you find the right information, it feels like gold. — Edwidge Danticat

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By V.S. Naipaul

What I felt was, if you spend your life just writing fiction, you are going to falsify your material. And the fictional form was going to force you to do things with the material, to dramatize it in a certain way. I thought nonfiction gave one a chance to explore the world, the other world, the world that one didn't know fully. — V.S. Naipaul

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By William Zinsser

One of underestimated tasks in nonfiction writing is to impose narrative shape on an unwieldy mass of material. — William Zinsser

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Tobias Wolff

I've allowed some of these points to stand, because this is a book of memory, and memory has its own story to tell. But I have done my best to make it tell a truthful story. — Tobias Wolff

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Kathleen Rooney

As a writer who writes poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, I think it's important to always maintain a firm grasp on genre and ethics. — Kathleen Rooney

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Cassandra Clare

I would write light entertainment nonfiction pieces during the day, then come home and work on my fantasy fiction. It was very difficult to get out of the one mindset and into another one. — Cassandra Clare

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By A.K. Wallace

For every work of fiction, the author inserts a bit of themself to make the story seem more real. For every work of nonfiction, the edges of reality must be blurred creatively to keep the reader's interest. — A.K. Wallace

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Marilynne Robinson

Writing nonfiction has been my most serious education, and for all those years it kept me from even glancing in the direction of despair. — Marilynne Robinson

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Rich Cohen

Writing a nonfiction story is like cracking a safe. It seems impossible at the beginning, but once you're in, you're in. — Rich Cohen

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Daniel H. Wilson

I wrote six nonfiction books before getting into narrative fiction with 'Robopocalypse,' including 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising.' My goal all along was to start writing fiction, and I guess one day I'd just had enough. — Daniel H. Wilson

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Leslie Jamison

When people ask what kind of nonfiction I write, I say 'all kinds,' but really I mean I don't write any kind at all: I'm trying to dissolve the borders between memoir and journalism and criticism by weaving them together. — Leslie Jamison

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Matt Gallagher

The American war-writing tradition is a proud one and booming in this era of the Global War on Terror - at least in the nonfiction realm. Hundreds of memoirs and press accounts from Iraq and Afghanistan have been published since 9/11. — Matt Gallagher

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By A.D. Posey

Fiction is entertaining. Nonfiction is epic. — A.D. Posey

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Emily Susan Rapp

Nonfiction ties your hands a bit, and just like writing poetry in rhyme, it can force you to make more brutal decisions in terms of word choice, plot, etc. — Emily Susan Rapp

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Judith Krantz

I would, however, start writing fiction about 10 years before I actually did, because it's such great fun to do, many times more creative than nonfiction. — Judith Krantz

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Sol Stein

The single characteristic that most makes a difference in the success of an article or nonfiction book is the author's courage in revealing normally unspoken things about himself or his society. It takes guts to be a writer — Sol Stein

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Lee Gutkind

I discovered that I, a writer of what is known as creative nonfiction, could do the research and bridge the gap in my books and lectures through true storytelling. This is not 'dumbing down' or writing for eighth graders. It is writing for readers across cultures, age barriers, social and political landscapes. — Lee Gutkind

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Frank Deford

I never wanted to be an editor. I never wanted to be a boss. I just wanted to write, and it didn't make any difference whether it was fiction or nonfiction or short stories or whatever. I just - that's what I was destined to do. — Frank Deford

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Chila Woychik

Nonfiction. I didn't choose it as much as it chose me. It squatted and birthed me one raw winter day then jerked me up and set me to scribing. — Chila Woychik

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Kilroy J. Oldster

Writing fiction or nonfiction is a lonely battle wrestling with sentences in an effort to put together an intelligible thought that speaks for the author. — Kilroy J. Oldster

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Irvine Welsh

When I'm not writing, I read loads of fiction, but I've been writing quite constantly lately so I've been reading a lot of nonfiction - philosophy, religion, science, history, social or cultural studies. — Irvine Welsh

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Lorin Stein

If you wrote about sex the way Jim [Salter] writes about sex in nonfiction, you would be a sociopath. — Lorin Stein

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Roxane Gay

Everyone else thinks I'm a nonfiction writer. I think it's because my nonfiction is easier to find. But I write both in equal measure. I love writing fiction because I can totally lose myself, and I get to make up the rules of the world that I'm writing. — Roxane Gay

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Jacob M. Held

great literature is literature that speaks to deep, fundamental human truths and experience in a way that is relatable to the reader and that may provoke engagement or facilitate insight into these truths and experiences. If these truths and experiences are about breaches of the normal, then surely horror has a place in literature, and in facts may proffer deep engagement with the most profound aspects of our existence. Sometimes only horror can say what needs to be said. — Jacob M. Held

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Meghan Daum

I started off doing fiction in 1993. It didn't occur to me to do nonfiction because it wasn't a thing yet. So I was bumbling around, writing short stories, and then I took a nonfiction workshop, and I realized that this was what I was supposed to do. — Meghan Daum

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Sergio Troncoso

A good writer should be able to communicate to the reader, 'I know your life. I know what you have truly experienced. It's not right or wrong. It's survival. It's making mistakes, and trying to redeem yourself. It's imperfections, and trying to make yourself better. It's outrages, and crimes, and insults, which often are not righted, which you have to fix yourself, in your own mind, in your own heart, so that you are not poisoned'. — Sergio Troncoso

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Alan Shapiro

All works of nonfiction, or memoir, have to first and foremost be art before they can be true. They have to be artful first before they can be truthful... If you emphasize the truth-telling at the expense of art, nobody is going to be interested in it. And if you sacrifice truth in the name of art, you risk triviality. There's a constant balance between those two. — Alan Shapiro

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Robert Masello

ROBERT MASELLO is the author of many previous works of fiction and nonfiction, most recently the novels Blood and Ice and The Medusa Amulet. A native of Evanston, Illinois, he studied writing under the novelists Robert Stone and Geoffrey Wolff at Princeton, and has since taught and lectured at many leading universities. For six years, he was the visiting lecturer in literature at Claremont McKenna College. He now lives and works in Santa Monica, — Robert Masello

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By John D'Agata

While I was in school, trying to figure out how to write an essay that could both satisfy my nonfiction workshops and still pass as something hybrid-y enough for my poetry workshops, I was looking for models, for forebears. — John D'Agata

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Barbara W. Tuchman

The writer's object should be to hold the reader's attention. I want the reader to turn the page and keep on turning until the end. This is accomplished only when the narrative moves steadily ahead, not when it comes to a weary standstill, overloaded with every item uncovered in the research. — Barbara W. Tuchman

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Hassan Osman

Writing a nonfiction book should primarily be about establishing credibility and authority in a specific domain. — Hassan Osman

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Peter Matthiessen

Nonfiction at its best is like fashioning a cabinet. It can never be a sculpture. It can be elegant and very beautiful, but it can never be sculpture. Captive to facts - or predetermined form - it cannot fly. — Peter Matthiessen

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Jen Pollock Michel

New freedoms surface old habits. I haven't left sin behind, only discovered a new medium for my treachery. My real trouble as a writer isn't trying to mean the words that I write. It's living into the words that I mean. Nonfiction writing can feel like the high art of hypocrisy. — Jen Pollock Michel

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Mitchell Ivers

We all know what good writing is: It's the novel we can't put down, the poem we never forget, the speech that changes the way we look at the world. It's the article that tells us when, where, and how, the essay that clarifies what was hazy before. Good writing is the memo that gets action, the letter that says what a phone call can't. It's the movie that makes us cry, the TV show that makes us laugh, the lyrics to the song we can't stop singing, the advertisement that makes us buy. Good writing can take form in prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction. It can be formal or informal, literary or colloquial. The rules and tools for achieving each are different, but one difficult-to-define quality runs through them all: style. "Effectiveness of assertion" was George Bernard Shaw's definition of style. "Proper words in proper places" was Jonathan Swift's. You — Mitchell Ivers

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Joan Didion

Writing fiction is for me a fraught business, an occasion of daily dread for at least the first half of the novel, and sometimes all the way through. The work process is totally different from writing nonfiction. You have to sit down every day and make it up. — Joan Didion

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Troy Hicks

We can no longer allow them to write just stories and poems; we must teach them the forms of nonfiction writing as well, specifically that of writing on demand. — Troy Hicks

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Barbara Kingsolver

Write a nonfiction book, and be prepared for the legion of readers who are going to doubt your fact. But write a novel, and get ready for the world to assume every word is true. — Barbara Kingsolver

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Cheryl Strayed

When you're speaking in the truest, most intimate voice about your life, you are speaking with the universal voice. — Cheryl Strayed

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Kathryn Harrison

Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, I've never had the sense I was 'making up' a character. It feels more like watching people reveal themselves, ever more deeply, more intimately. — Kathryn Harrison

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Mary Kay Zuravleff

The DNA of the novel - which, if I begin to write nonfiction, I will write about this - is that: the title of the novel is the whole novel. The first line of the novel is the whole novel. The point of view is the whole novel. Every subplot is the whole novel. The verb tense is the whole novel. — Mary Kay Zuravleff

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Pankaj Mishra

The act of writing should not be accompanied by the sense of an audience, someone peering over your shoulder, but in nonfiction I think it's almost imperative that you identify an audience so you can confirm or challenge or undermine whatever ideas or prejudices they might have about your subject. — Pankaj Mishra

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Geraldine Brooks

While I love to read contemporary fiction, I'm not drawn to writing it. Perhaps it's because the former journalist in me is too inhibited by the press of reality; when I think about writing of my own time I always think about nonfiction narratives. Or perhaps it's just that I find the present too confounding. — Geraldine Brooks

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Melissa Febos

When I was in college I started writing prose, because a very smart professor asked me what I like to read and I said, "Novels," and she said, "You should be writing them then." Memoir never even occurred to me. I think I was afraid of nonfiction and I was afraid of navel-gazing, and of being seen. — Melissa Febos

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By E. O. Wilson

It's the technique, I think, of writing a novel that is difficult for a nonfiction writer. — E. O. Wilson

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Mitch Kellaway

When trying to comprehend what is happening to, and through, oneself, why not question the narratives one has been handed to make sense with? This is an approach increasingly utilized within transgender knowledge production, one spearheaded by transgender people themselves. It brings to light questions about previous entries into the trans nonfiction canon, asking: Is it necessary, when writing a trans protagonist, to describe in detail a medical transition, to 'confess' conflicted feelings of body confusion? Has it even been internalized into a communal consciousness, into something resembling a trans storytelling requirement? — Mitch Kellaway

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Phillip Lopate

What makes me want to keep reading a nonfiction text is the encounter with a surprising, well-stocked mind as it takes on the challenge of the next sentence, paragraph, — Phillip Lopate

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Patti Smith

It ain't so easy writing about nothin — Patti Smith

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Ilan Stavans

All nonfiction writers, whether they like it or not, are translators. The translator is the perfect journalist. The best journalism endeavors to convey an essential idea or story to an audience that knows very little about it, and that requires translation. To do this successfully, the writer must filter the idea through the prism of his eye, and his mind, and his writing style. — Ilan Stavans

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Dale Mayer

different genres. To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening — Dale Mayer

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Ever hear the expression "write what you know?" My version says "write what you want to know." If you want to know about the history of Spain, write about the history of Spain - fiction or nonfiction. If your fascinated by the old west, maybe your character lives there. — Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Akhil Sharma

I need to tell the things that are important but which don't make sense in terms of the narrative, things that would destroy symmetry or narrative pace. This is my personal belief about what it means to write nonfiction. — Akhil Sharma

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By John Gimlette

I feel better off doing what I know how to do. I feel a strong element of fictional style in travel writing anyway. Some call it creative nonfiction. — John Gimlette

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I never really considered writing something that was nonfiction. — Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Candice Millard

If uncovering the truth is the greatest challenge of nonfiction writing, it is also the greatest reward. — Candice Millard

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Will Rogers

You know, everybody's ignorant, just on different subjects. — Will Rogers

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Tom Bissell

My fiction-writing DNA shows in how I think about prose, how I think about the page, how I think nonfiction stories should work. And every piece of nonfiction I write, I want it to have fictional texture. — Tom Bissell

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Bruce Black

....and on occasion I like to write in pencil, because I need to know that I can erase the words, even if I never do. — Bruce Black

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Rudolf Flesch

If you go through any newspaper or magazine and look for active, kicking verbs in the sentences, you will realize that this lack of well used verbs is the main trouble with modern English writing. Almost all nonfiction nowadays is written in a sort of pale, colorless sauce of passives and infinitives, motionless and flat as paper. — Rudolf Flesch

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Douglas Preston

When I'm writing fiction I'm thinking, God, this is so hard - I have to make all this stuff up! I wish I were writing a nonfiction book where all the facts are laid out and I don't have to be so much at sea. — Douglas Preston

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Michelle Gagnon

I used to be a freelance journalist, so I had to write fast, but I always found writing nonfiction constraining. I like the freedom of fiction, where I get to invent everything, and tidy, conclusive endings are within my control. — Michelle Gagnon

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By William Zinsser

Most nonfiction writers have a definitiveness complex. They feel that they are under some obligation - to the subject, to their honor, to the gods of writing - to make their article the last word. It's a commendable impulse, but there is no last word. — William Zinsser

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Georgia Heard

Good writing is good writing no matter what genre you're writing in, and I believe that there are only a handful of fundamental craft tools that are essential for any genre-including nonfiction. — Georgia Heard

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Joan Didion

Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. — Joan Didion

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Edwidge Danticat

After the Dance was my first attempt at nonfiction. I'd never really participated in carnival, and I really wanted to go. It sounded like a wonderfully fun thing to do. And I wanted to write something happy about Haiti, something celebratory. And going to carnival gave me a chance to do that, because it is one of the instances in Haiti when people shed their class separation and come together. — Edwidge Danticat

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Mary Doria Russell

Interviewer: Have you ever considered writing nonfiction? Mary Doria Russell: Oh, honey, I did! Let's see ... There was "A Reconsideration of the Evidence for Cannibalism at the Krapina Neandertal Site." That was a big hit. And who could ever forget "Cutmarks on the Engis II Calvarium"? Then there was "Browridge Development as a Function of Bending Stress in the Supraorbital Region." I got tons of reprint requests for that one. Trust me fiction is better. — Mary Doria Russell

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Ishmael Beah

It's exhausting writing nonfiction, particularly when it's personal. It's tiring, always speaking about things that are not necessarily fun retelling. — Ishmael Beah

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Mary Rose O'Reilley

One night I begged Robin, a scientist by training, to watch Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' with me on PBS. He lasted about one act, then turned to me in horror: 'This is how you spend your days? Thinking about things like this?' I was ashamed. I could have been learning about string theory or how flowers pollinate themselves.
I think his remark was the beginning of my crisis of faith. Like so many of my generation in graduate school, I had turned to literature as a kind of substitute for formal religion, which no longer fed my soul, or for therapy, which I could not afford ... I became interested in exploring the theory of nonfiction and in writing memoir, a genre that gives us access to that lost Middlemarch of reflection and social commentary. — Mary Rose O'Reilley

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By William T. Vollmann

I feel like I'm almost ready to write fiction about the border. But even after 10 years of writing nonfiction about it, I don't think I know quite enough to do it right. — William T. Vollmann

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Frederick Lenz

I enjoy the writings of all of these authors and they have been very inspirational for me. But I think that it is important as writers of metaphysical, New Age, occult fiction and nonfiction to not take ourselves too seriously. — Frederick Lenz

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Katandra Jackson Nunnally

What was the difference between Anne Frank and any other 15 year old girl living the same nightmare? Nothing! Aside from the fact that Anne spoke through her writings while others kept silent. Someone very special to me recently asked how can I write such personal things as child abuse, relationship problems, sexual addiction, and not fear how the family will feel about these revealings. I have the audacity to write such things because it's MY story. Not my parents, not my brothers, not my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents... MINE. Note to those contemplating writing nonfiction. Write the story. It's yours to tell. Nevermind how your family will feel. Those that love you will not judge you. I promise. Do not let your testimony be in vain. — Katandra Jackson Nunnally

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Sloane Crosley

I think the goal with any writing, but especially narrative nonfiction, is to put the blockade of putting your thoughts in this unnatural medium of print and then trying to reach through that and actually convey what's going on, what you think, and make people laugh and recognize themselves while doing it. Definitely the laughing thing. — Sloane Crosley

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Jo Deurbrouck

Writing nonfiction means I tell people's stories for them, not because they're special but because we all are. — Jo Deurbrouck

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Marya Hornbacher

When you're teaching creative nonfiction, it helps to have written about your life in a very open way, because you can say, 'Look, how much are you willing to risk emotionally to write? How careful can you be with the other people you're writing about?' — Marya Hornbacher

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By David Halberstam

That was something else I owed Teddy White. I and others of my generation, who went from newspaper and magazine reporting to writing books, owed him a far greater debt of gratitude than most people realized. As much as anyone he changed the nature of nonfiction political reporting. By taking the 1960 campaign, a subject about which everyone knew the outcome, and writing a book which proved wondrously exciting to read, he had given a younger generation a marvelous example of the expanded possibilities of writing nonfiction journalism. As I worked on my own book, I remembered his example and tried to write it as a detective novel. — David Halberstam

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Stephen King

He would write it for the reason he felt that all great literature, fiction and nonfiction, was written: truth comes out, in the end it always comes out. He would write it because he felt he had to. — Stephen King

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Zelda Popkin

You do not conceive a novel as easily as you conceive a child, nor even half as easily as you create nonfiction work. A journalist amasses facts, anecdotes and interviews with top brass. Enough of these add up to a book. A novelist demands quite different things. He has to find himself in his materials, to know for sure how he would feel and act and the events he writes about. In addition, he requires a catalyst - a person, idea, or emotion which coalesces his ingredients and makes them jell into a solid purpose. — Zelda Popkin

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Melissa Febos

I more seriously considered publishing it under a pseudonym than I considered publishing it as fiction. I think the decision to write it as nonfiction happened at the very outset of the process, because the overwhelming impetus for writing this book was to understand what the experience meant, and to override my own reductions and rationalizations, whatever story I had that was not true. It didn't sit well with me and I needed to answer that. That's sort of the reason I write everything. — Melissa Febos

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By George R R Martin

All fiction, if it's successful, is going to appeal to the emotions. Emotion is really what fiction is all about. That's not to say fiction can't be thoughtful, or present some interesting or provocative ideas to make us think. But if you want to present an intellectual argument, nonfiction is a better tool. You can drive a nail with a shoe but a hammer is a better tool for that. But fiction is about emotional resonance, about making us feel things on a primal and visceral level. — George R R Martin

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By James Salter

The notion that anything can be invented wholly and that these invented things are classified as 'fiction' and that other writing, presumably not made up, is called 'nonfiction' strikes me as a very arbitrary separation of things. — James Salter

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Cassi Janzek

I began writing my nonfiction memoir to explain why women, "don't just leave."
My exciting, narrative-driven memoir aspires to to save others from needless unhappiness: surviving isn't enough.Trauma can be overcome and joy recaptured.The book is written in a fresh, lively voice with lots of humor. The chapters of me growing up in the 50's and 60's and my college years at Penn State provide an intimate, historical trip through some of the most fascinating times in modern history. This is also a family saga depicting mental illness and shows how this could have happened to me: My husband and I were the dance. — Cassi Janzek

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Irvine Welsh

I tend to read more nonfiction, really, because when I'm writing I don't like to read other fiction. — Irvine Welsh

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By A.D. Posey

Writing fiction is fun. Writing non-fiction is life-changing. — A.D. Posey

Writing Nonfiction Quotes By Leonard Mlodinow

Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, writing takes me to another world. — Leonard Mlodinow