Thursday, December 2, 2010

Literary Quote of the Day, Tweet, Tweet!

Keith here.

I’ve been having a great old time on Twitter. Each weekday morning I tweet a Literary Quote of the Day (LQOD). I find the quotes in books on my shelves at home and in resources online.

Sometimes I post one that makes me laugh aloud. Like this one from Norman Mailer: “It's not a good idea to put your wife into a novel – not your latest wife anyway.” Or this one from Benjamin Disraeli, author of Henrietta Temple, Coningsby, and Tancred, which I posted on Thanksgiving Day: “I feel a very unusual sensation – if it's not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.” And finally, literary agent H.N. Swanson says, “Whenever I am asked what kind of writing is the most lucrative, I have to say ransom notes.”

Others include a gem of advice like this one from literary agent Donald Maass: “If there is one single principle that is central to making any story more powerful, it is simply this: Raise the stakes.”

I like being reminded that there’s more to being a writer than just tapping away on my laptop keys. As Stephen King says, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Mr. King then gives me permission to read and count it as work! Disappointment is part of the job as 19th century author Christian N. Bovee’s witticism conveys: “There is probably no hell for authors in the next world – they suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.”

Some get into the craft of writing like yesterday’s tweet, a quote from Mark Twain: “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.”

Occasionally there's a quote that reminds me what a crazy profession I’m in. As E.L. Doctorow diagnoses, “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” And Philip Roth complains, “I write fiction and I'm told it's autobiography, I write autobiography and I'm told it's fiction.” Larry Vincent, mystery writer and radiologist, observes, “The instant my first book was accepted for publication, I switched from being delusional to being tenacious.”

Why do I post a daily lit quote? Is it because I just plain like looking for them? That's some of it. And part of the explanation must be the hope that fellow tweeters are amused, too.

If you’d like to get your Lit Quote of the Day, you can follow WriterKeith on Twitter. Please let me know what you think.

Keith

P.S. Today is the first day of Hanukkah, a holiday that celebrates dispelling the darkness. I’m for that. Happy Hanukkah everyone!

12 comments:

Lisa Bork said...

All great quotes, Keith! Thanks for sharing and Happy Hanukkah!

Vicki Doudera said...

Voltaire said, "Only your friends steal your books." I SO want to steal your idea, Keith! Love it!

Jess Lourey said...

“Whenever I am asked what kind of writing is the most lucrative, I have to say ransom notes.”

Fantastic.

That's a great idea for tweets, Keith. If I were a twitterer, I'd sign up. I'm holding out for the next best technology, however. Clucks? Growls? Slaps?

Happy Hanukkah to you and yours, as well. I hope you're safe, warm, and happy this season.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Happy Hanukkah to you and your family, Keith! I love good quotes and have several that I keep posted at both my desk at home and at the office.

My favorite: "If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster." -- Isaac Asimov

Keith Raffel said...

It seems that Vicki's post gives me permission to steal Sue Ann's Asimov quote for a future tweet. Thank you both. C'mon, Jess, get with the program. Lisa, they are fun to read, aren't they? Happy Hanukkah everyone.

Alan Orloff said...

"...from being delusional to being tenacious."

Indeed.

Chappy Chanukah!

Darrell James said...

I *like* it! Thanks, Keith! Happy Hanukkah to you and family!

Lois Winston said...

Great idea, Keith! Happy Hanukkah!

Kathleen Ernst said...

Hmmn. I'm published, but sometimes I think I'm still delusional.

Alice Loweecey said...

Happy Hanukkah!

Keith Raffel said...

Alan, it's all a matter of perspective, I guess.

Kathleen, if you weren't delusional, you couldn't write. I think that's what Doctorow was saying in his quote.

Thanks, Darrell, Alice and Lois.

Deborah Sharp said...

Great idea to spread some lit-wit out there, Keith. Like Jess, I've resisted the siren call of Twitter, but a big thumbs up to you for finding an excellent way to use it.
Cheers, and here's to dispelling the darkness!