5 Quotes about Writing from Authors that struck me deeply

Images are taken from goodreads.

George R.R. Martin

This was in an interview for The Guardian by Alison Flood just months before A Dance with Dragons was released (archived on TheGuardian on April 14 2011):

George R.R. Martin Quote
I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they're going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there's going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don't know how many branches it's going to have, they find out as it grows. And I'm much more a gardener than an architect.
As an aspiring writer (in my local language), what George R.R. Martin said really uplifted my spirit. I have quite a number of unfinished stories and I really don't know how to finish them. When I let my friends read my pseudo-manuscript, most of them enjoyed it but still when I'm asked what's the overall plot, then I get offended. I have characters in a story and an initial setting. Those are already enough for me to keep the story going. Back then, I didn't care where my characters are headed because I know that in time, they will just get there. I'm writing a little of rom-com (just a little because I don't know if I could keep up the humor). What's important for me then was the delivery of the story, that my readers will surely enjoy it. Romantic-comedy is totally a different genre from fantasy. In fantasy, there should be a clear world-building. So in rom-com, I don't plan ahead and Martin's words justify my lack of futuristic vision.

Michael J. Sullivan

This is in an interview about Theft of Swords by a staff of Orbit Publishing House, where Michael J. Sullivan has hit a jackpot in becoming a published author (before Orbit discovered Sullivan, he was distributing The Riyria Revelations series independently as a self-published author with the help of his wife). When asked why he chose to use such established fantasy tropes in his series, this is what he said,

Michael J. Sullivan Quote
I saw the same scenario play out to some degree in the fantasy book world. This time it was a novel series by a new author who made the unforgivable mistake of writing a hero-story using every clichéd trapping available. It was actually the tale of a young boy destined to defeat an evil dark lord and save the world from destruction. It even had an old mentor wizard guiding him as well as a motley crew of humorous sidekicks (not unlike Star Wars.) According to the professed mentality of the consumer, the books should have been laughable. In serious times, people don’t want trite tales of do-gooders with happy endings. They should have been panned as the worst kind of old-fashioned echo. Instead, there is a Harry Potter theme park in Florida now.
If you're going to be a fantasy writer with such complex world-building, it doesn't matter if your story is formulaic. Again, what matters is how you deliver the story. Even if your readers will know where the story is heading or if the magic system is very similar to what some authors had already established (like the fantastical world of The Lord of the Rings trilogy), as long as you keep your readers engaged and hooked to the story, you could never go wrong. The world is full of possibilities but with so many things already established, ideas have become somewhat limited. To be a successful author (Michael Sullivan might not be that famous but to me, he's one of the best writers I know of), readers should enjoy your style of writing.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman was asked to write an introduction to M.J. Simpson's biography of Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). It's written on May 2003, 2 years after Adams' death. There's this is one paragraph that bugged me:

Neil Gaiman Quote
After he died, I was interviewed a lot, asked about Douglas. I said that I didn’t think that he had ever been a novelist, not really, despite having been an internationally best-selling novelist who had written several books which are, a quarter of a century later, becoming seen as classics. Writing novels was a profession he had backed into, or stumbled over, or sat down on very suddenly and broken.
Whatever I had in mind is taken out of context of the whole introduction. There's a part where Neil Gaiman intended to flatter Douglas but I was already too offended with the said paragraph. Like I said in one of my post, to me, what he said was as if Douglas Adams wasn't born to be a writer. He claimed that Douglas Adams was a great writer but writing wasn't much in him. To me, it is not necessary that the life of an author should revolve around writing like what writing did for Neil Gaiman. What if Adams was just a multi-talented person that he'd rather do other things other than dedicate his life for writing? I think writing one great series is enough to be validated not just as a writer but a great author.

J.K. Rowling

In an interview by Emma Watson for the magazine Wonderland, J.K. Rowling openly expressed that she regretted Hermione ending up with Ron instead of Harry Potter. This is an excerpt from The Sunday Times:

“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment” she says. “That's how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”

“I know, I'm sorry” she continued, “I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I'm absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people's hearts by saying this? I hope not.”

Watson didn't seem shocked by these comments and agreed with her. “I think there are fans out there who know that too and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.”

Rowling also says that Ron and Hermione would have needed “relationship counseling.”
J.K. Rowling somewhat ruined my childhood. After reading The Chamber of Secrets, I had this notion that Harry Potter will one day marry Hermione Granger. But come The Prisoner of Azkaban and Cho Chang was introduced. It was hard adjusting to the idea that Harry Potter was in love with Cho Chang. After Harry kissed Cho in The Goblet of Fire, I conditioned myself to accept that Cho Chang might be the one for him with Hermione's and Ron's feelings budding on the side. The acceptance was hard. But before the coming of Cho Chang, my friends already surmised that Hermione will love Ron. And I just find that idea ridiculous. But this is where I lost hope for Harry's love life: Cho Chang betrayed Harry and on the sixth book, Harry Potter started seeing the beauty of Ginny Weasley. I saw the potential of the two when Harry met Ginny for the first time in arriving at The Burrows. But Bonnie Wright being cast for Ginny Weasley ruined the image for me.

Anne Rice

On July 10, 2009, written in Anne Rice's official website:

Anne Rice Quote
I completed the Vampire Chronicles in 2002 with the writing of Blood Canticle. This novel marks the end of my journey with Lestat and his friends.The novel does not attempt an artificial finale, or wrap up, but presents Lestat and others as moving on in time. The novel also reflects a profound moral change in Lestat.

In 2002, I experienced a new spiritual beginning, and my writing inevitably changed. New challenges presented themselves and new novels were the result.

I remain proud of the Vampire Chronicles and the stories of the Mayfair Witches, and I remain close to the readers of these books. But I have no more stories to tell with the Vampires or the Mayfair Witches, and cannot write about these characters anymore. To attempt to do so would be dishonest. I think the eleven novels of the Vampire Chronicles are best enjoyed as a complete and finished work.
Her spiritual beginning refers to her return to the Catholic church of her youth. I say that because of her spiritual choice, she lost the passion for writing in dark genre. She got too emotionally affected that the Vampire World of Lestat "ended" prematurely. But then on 2010, Anne Rice publicly announced via facebook that she quit Christianity and that she'll be returning to the world of the supernatural genre. She must have graduated the phase of soul-searching. And so, just this October 28, Prince Lestat was released. This just shows that there are cases where one's spiritual choice (or the path of soul-searching if you must) really affects writing.

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