100 Quotes About Storytelling

We all have a story. Whether it’s an inspirational journey, a funny tale, or even a tragedy, there’s usually something to be learned in every story. Stories are powerful because they reveal the truth about the human condition in a way that is universal and timeless. Whether in prose or poetry, stories help us remember important events, grasp the real meaning of life, and find out who we are Read more

We hope you enjoy these wise and inspirational quotes about storytelling.

Most of the basic material a writer works with is...
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Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen. Willa Cather
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This is our story to tell. You’d think for all the reading I do, I would have thought about this before, but I haven’t. I’ve never once thought about the interpretative, the story telling aspect of life, of my life. I always felt like I was in a story, yes, but not like I was the author of it, or like I had any say in its telling whatsoever. Jandy Nelson
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You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Erin Morgenstern
There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of...
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There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth. Doris Lessing
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[I]t is the wine that leads me on, the wild winethat sets the wisest man to singat the top of his lungs, laugh like a fool — it drives theman to dancing... it eventempts him to blurt out storiesbetter never told. Homer
But I'm going to try to tell the truth. Except...
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But I'm going to try to tell the truth. Except for the parts I'm leav­ing out, because there's still stuff I'm just not going to tell you. Get used to it. Robin McKinley
You want to tell a story? Grow a heart. Grow...
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You want to tell a story? Grow a heart. Grow two. Now, with the second heart, smash the first one into bits. Charles Yu
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All stories have a curious and even dangerous power. They are manifestations of truth -- yours and mine. And truth is all at once the most wonderful yet terrifying thing in the world, which makes it nearly impossible to handle. It is such a great responsibility that it's best not to tell a story at all unless you know you can do it right. You must be very careful, or without knowing it you can change the world. Vera Nazarian
Trust the story ... the storyteller may dissemble and deceive,...
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Trust the story ... the storyteller may dissemble and deceive, the story can't: the story can only ever be itself. James Robertson
One doesn't intentionally to alter the truth, just enhance it...
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One doesn't intentionally to alter the truth, just enhance it and make it more memorable. John H. Alexander
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I tell the story to you now, but in each telling the story itself changes a little, changes direction, and that in turn changes you and me. So be very careful not only in how you repeat it but in how you remember it, goslings. More often than you realize it, the world is shaped by two things -- stories told and the memories they leave behind. Vera Nazarian
Storytellers seldom let facts get in the way of perpetuating...
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Storytellers seldom let facts get in the way of perpetuating a legend, although a few facts add seasoning and make the legend more believable. John H. Alexander
Luz's manner of speaking made it clear that she had...
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Luz's manner of speaking made it clear that she had no idea what she might say next. It wasn't that she made things up, strictly speaking--only that facts were merely a point of departure for her. Unknown
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I can see how I could write a bold account of myself as a passionate man who rose from humble beginnings to cut a wide swath in the world, whose crimes along the way might be written off to extravagance and love and art, and could even almost believe some of it myself on certain days after the sun went down if I’d had a snort or two and was in Los Angeles and it was February and I was twenty-four, but I find a truer account in the Herald-Star, where it says: “Mr. Gary Keillor visited at the home of Al and Florence Crandall on Monday and after lunch returned to St. Paul, where he is currently employed in the radio show business… Lunch was fried chicken with gravy and creamed peas”. Garrison Keillor
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Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. What lies beyond the margin of the text? The photographer frames the shot; writers frame their world. Mrs Winterson objected to what I had put in, but it seemed to me that what I had left out was the story’s silent twin. There are so many things that we can’t say, because they are too painful. We hope that the things we can say will soothe the rest, or appease it in some way. Stories are compensatory. The world is unfair, unjust, unknowable, out of control. When we tell a story we exercise control, but in such a way as to leave a gap, an opening. It is a version, but never the final one. And perhaps we hope that the silences will be heard by someone else, and the story can continue, can be retold. When we write we offer the silence as much as the story. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken. Mrs Winterson would have preferred it if I had been silent. Do you remember the story of Philomel who is raped and then has her tongue ripped out by the rapist so that she can never tell? I believe in fiction and the power of stories because that way we speak in tongues. We are not silenced. All of us, when in deep trauma, find we hesitate, we stammer; there are long pauses in our speech. The thing is stuck. We get our language back through the language of others. We can turn to the poem. We can open the book. Somebody has been there for us and deep-dived the words. I needed words because unhappy families are conspiracies of silence. The one who breaks the silence is never forgiven. He or she has to learn to forgive him or herself. . Jeanette Winterson
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Stored personal memories along with handed down collective memories of stories, legends, and history allows us to collate our interactions with a physical and social world and develop a personal code of survival. In essence, we all become self-styled sages, creating our own book of wisdom based upon our studied observations and practical knowledge gleaned from living and learning. What we quickly discover is that no textbook exist how to conduct our life, because the world has yet to produce a perfect person — an ideal observer — whom is capable of handing down a concrete exemplar of epistemic virtues. We each draw upon the guiding knowledge, theories, and advice available for us in order to explore the paradoxes, ironies, inconsistencies, and the absurdities encountered while living in a supernatural world. We mold our personal collection of information into a practical practicum how to live and die. Each day we define and redefine who we are, determine how we will react today, and chart our quest into an uncertain future. Kilroy J. Oldster
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We are each warriors of our own times. When we step out of our protective shell, we each encounter forces much more powerful than we are. What we learn through testing ourselves on the combat zones of our eon becomes the textbook protocol for how we shall live out the remainder of our life. The glorious skirmishes and daunting conflicts that we encounter, and what we learn from vigorous engagements on the battlefield of time, inscribe the story of our lives. Spiritual leaders help guide us in our times of doubt and self-questioning. Recognizing the value of the mentorship of spiritual guides in their self-questing ventures, persons who endure immense adversity wish to reciprocate their love of humanity by sharing the scored story of their episodic journey through the corridors of time and relay the incisive truths they discovered to any other travelers with a willing ear. Kilroy J. Oldster
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Chimerical words, the words were written, Some are wasted; some are still on the page, Tattered words, the words were written, Some are young, some are aged, Gloomy words, the words were written, Some are unspoken, some are told, Words were hurt, though they can heal, Words are breathless, though can feel, Words won hearts, words shattered hearts, Words lost battles, words won wars, Wars within, words had scars. Nishikant
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His pen spoke more to her than he ever did”. In the war of words, some are unwritten and some are unspoken. Nishikant
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How might I get over this? How would I be able to overlook the way he used to be with me? How could I overlook that his fingers touched my indiscernible soul before it twisted my nipples? How might I overlook his essence that still is in my garments? Despite everything, I still hear you saying that you love me. Though I know you don't. Nishikant
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All she captures is a moment and what she calls it is a memory, Sometimes, it is assumptions that we use; all we need is a theory, Because you don’t know what is there in the future, And all you need is a vision to make a perfect picture. I feel that I have known you for a century, And whatever she calls is a memory. Nishikant
After all these years, all I know is, I need...
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After all these years, all I know is, I need not to do anything as a part of remorse. All I need is to write. Because, ' Poetry forgives. Nishikant
For any marginalized group to change the story that society...
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For any marginalized group to change the story that society tells about them takes courage and perseverance. Sharon Salzberg
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The idea that traumatic residues–or unresolved stories–can be inherited is groundbreaking. Sharon Salzberg
Every great love starts with a great story...
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Every great love starts with a great story... Nicholas Sparks
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Time is tick, tick, ticking away. How many souls will I capture today? Will they be a challenge or will they be given? Only time will tell as the clock keeps tick, tick, ticking. Your god has arrived with enough hatred for y’all, with enough evil for the big and small, so come one, come all. I will shred your souls and place them in my satchel, call you a settler and make you my peddler. Come one, come all, come stand behind your god. I will lead you into the darkness of Earth's end. Come one, come all, my wilted flowers, come claim your title, speak out and cheer it. Come one, come all, let’s have a ball, my wilted flowers . Sweet, Unconquerable Spirits. . A.K. Kuykendall
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No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists. R.M. Romero
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I have fallen, for your words. They are like, a gossamer cobweb, I have been, embroiled, decoyed, snared into! Incapacitated. I fail to escape. I fail to liberate. Your words, didn't redeem, made me a, captive instead. Jasleen Kaur Gumber
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Human stories are practically always about one thing, really, aren't they? Death. The inevitability of death.. (quoting an obituary) 'There is no such thing as a natural death. Nothing that ever happens to man is natural, since his presence calls the whole world into question. All men must die, but for every man his death is an accident, and even if he knows it he would sense to it an unjustifiable violation.' Well, you may agree with the words or not, but those are the key spring of The Lord Of The Rings. J.r.r. Tolkien
Doubt is a question mark; faith is an exclamation point....
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Doubt is a question mark; faith is an exclamation point. The most compelling, believable, realistic stories have included them both. Criss Jami
After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we...
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After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. Philip Pullman
Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for...
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Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it.", Nerdfighteria Wiki, January 17, 2012] John Green
You can fix anything but a blank page.
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You can fix anything but a blank page. Nora Roberts
Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like...
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Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river. Lisa See
A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses...
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A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. Graham Greene
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It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass. Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself. Still illiterate, I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them. . Eudora Welty
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There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence. Flannery OConnor
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All the stories I would like to write persecute me. When I am in my chamber, it seems as if they are all around me, like little devils, and while one tugs at my ear, another tweaks my nose, and each says to me, 'Sir, write me, I am beautiful. Umberto Eco
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Write to your heart’s content and by all means, have fun with your creation. It’s your moment to do absolutely anything within those pages. Jennifer Murgia
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Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole. Eudora Welty
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Writing's funny, it's like walking down a hall in the dark looking for the light switch, and suddenly you find it, flip it on, and then you discover the hallway you passed through is papered with the novel you've written. Jonathan Safran Foer
I have always held the old-fashioned opinion that the primary...
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I have always held the old-fashioned opinion that the primary object of work of fiction should be to tell a story. Wilkie Collins
Life is a sea of vibrant color. Jump in.
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Life is a sea of vibrant color. Jump in. A.D. Posey
I got this story from someone who had no business...
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I got this story from someone who had no business in the telling of it. Edgar Rice Burroughs
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I have from the first felt sure that the writer, when he sits down to commence his novel, should do so, not because he has to tell a story, but because he has a story to tell. The novelist's first novel will generally have sprung from the right cause. Anthony Trollope
...required for good fiction: character, conflict, change through time. And...
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...required for good fiction: character, conflict, change through time. And if you're really blessed, you get resolution. But life doesn't usually work out that way. Ted Conover
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If you focus on the humanity of your stories, your characters, then the horror will be stronger, scarier. Without the humanity, the horror becomes nothing more than a tawdry parlor trick. All flash and no magic, and worst of all, no heart. Don Roff
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Human beings across every culture I know about require such stories, stories with cool winds and wood smoke. They speak to something deep within us, the capacity to conceptualize, objectify and find patterns, thereby to create the flow of events and perceptions that find perfect expression in fiction. We are built this way, we create stories by reflex, unstoppably. But this elegant system really works best when the elements of the emerging story, whether is is being written or being read, are taken as literal fact. Almost always, to respond to the particulars of the fantastic as if they were metaphorical or allegorical is to drain them of vitality. Peter Straub
[Y]ou cannot mention everything in its proper place, you must...
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[Y]ou cannot mention everything in its proper place, you must choose, between the things not worth mentioning and those and those even less so. Samuel Beckett
Always choose love over fear.
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Always choose love over fear. A.D. Posey
We are the thoughts we choose to keep.
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We are the thoughts we choose to keep. A.D. Posey
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Literature might be called the art of story, and story might in turn be called a universal language, for every culture we know of has a tradition of storytelling. No doubt stories have touched your life, too, from bedtime stories you may have heard as a child to news stories you see on TV or read in a newspaper. We might even say that a major goal of living is to created the story of our own lives, a story we hope to take pleasure and pride in telling. Andrea A. Lunsford
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The principles of storytelling do not change. Going home. Coming of age. Sin and redemption. The hero. The journey, The power of love. They are hardwired into us, just like our taste buds process sweet, sour, bitter, and salt. Can a new voice come up with something startling and creative and unprecedented? Absolutely. Can they invent a fifth taste? No. No, they can’t. Can they make it so we don’t like sweet anymore? No, no they can’t. Chris Dee
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No book can be written till it wants to be written, till it shouts to be written, and raises up a persistent din in the writer's head. And then, if you want peace, you just have to pull it out and freeze it in print. Nothing less would do. Jyoti Arora
I have stolen ideas from every book I have ever...
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I have stolen ideas from every book I have ever read. Philip Pullman
Only your children’s grandchildren may remember our stories, but the...
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Only your children’s grandchildren may remember our stories, but the stories are not what makes a life. It’s living with a smile and a free spirit that will ripple throughout the stars. T.S. Wieland
The gift of knowledge is empowering, but the gift of...
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The gift of knowledge is empowering, but the gift of wisdom is life-changing. A.D. Posey
In Paris, where raillery is so quick to throw emotion...
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In Paris, where raillery is so quick to throw emotion out the window, silence, in a roomful of clever people after a story, is the most flattering of all marks of success Jules Barbey DAurevilly
How the story will end, no one knows? We can...
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How the story will end, no one knows? We can only envisage. Lailah Gifty Akita
Can you imagine a world without books to read?
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Can you imagine a world without books to read? Lailah Gifty Akita
Read a short story every day. By the end of...
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Read a short story every day. By the end of the week you would have read volumes of stories. Lailah Gifty Akita
When we don’t tell those we love about what’s really...
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When we don’t tell those we love about what’s really going on or listen carefully to what they have to say, we tend to fill in the blanks with stories. Sharon Salzberg
Living in a story of a limited self–to any degree–is...
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Living in a story of a limited self–to any degree–is not love. Sharon Salzberg
Identifying the source of our personal narratives helps us to...
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Identifying the source of our personal narratives helps us to release its negative aspects and re-frame it in ways that promote wholeness. Sharon Salzberg
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When unconscious storytelling becomes out default, we often keep tripping over the same issue, staying down when we fall, and having different versions of the same problem in our relationships--we've got the story on repeat. Burton explains that our brains like predictable storytelling. He writes, "In effect, well-oiled patterns of observation encourage our brains to compose a story that we expect to hear. Unknown
Story is metaphor for life and life is lived in...
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Story is metaphor for life and life is lived in time. Robert McKee
Thus I rediscovered what writers have always known (and have...
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Thus I rediscovered what writers have always known (and have told us again and again): books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told. Umberto Eco
Authors do not choose a story to write, the story...
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Authors do not choose a story to write, the story chooses us. Richard P. Denney
Experience is the catalyst for all great stories.
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Experience is the catalyst for all great stories. Richelle E. Goodrich
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Part of dedicating your life to studying literature is realizing that storytelling is more than just make-believe and that make-believe is far more important that we all pretend -- make believe -- it is. One way or another books tell the stories of their readers. But telling our lives is not the same as shaping them, whittling them away. Suddenly Jill had lost control. Her books had taken over and were in charge. Laurie Frankel
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Crusoe and Friday. Ishmael and Ahab. Daisy and Gatsby. Pip and Estella. Me. Me. Me. I am not alone. I am surrounded by words that tell me who I am, why I feel what I feel. Or maybe they just help me while away the hours as the rain pounds down on the porch roof, taking me away from the gloom and on to somewhere sunny, somewhere else. Anna Quindlen
Love awakens the soul.
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Love awakens the soul. A.D. Posey
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The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it's when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it's when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It's when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there's nothing there.. . Stephen King
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I could a tale unfold whose lightest word Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres, Thy knotted and combined locks to part, And each particular hair to stand on end Like quills upon the fretful porpentine. But this eternal blazon must not be To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O list! William Shakespeare
Truth is the greatest marketing campaign.
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Truth is the greatest marketing campaign. Richie Norton
The artist lives to have stories to tell and to...
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The artist lives to have stories to tell and to learn to tell them well. Criss Jami
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And if I'm guilty of having gratuitous sex, then I'm also guilty of having gratuitous violence, and gratuitous feasting, and gratuitous description of clothes, and gratuitous heraldry, because very little of this is necessary to advance the plot. But my philosophy is that plot advancement is not what the experience of reading fiction is about. If all we care about is advancing the plot, why read novels? We can just read Cliffs Notes.A novel for me is an immersive experience where I feel as if I have lived it and that I've tasted the food and experienced the sex and experienced the terror of battle. So I want all of the detail, all of the sensory things–whether it's a good experience, or a bad experience, I want to put the reader through it. To that mind, detail is necessary, showing not telling is necessary, and nothing is gratuitous. George R.r. Martin
God is an author, and we are His best story.
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God is an author, and we are His best story. Cier Galla
Henry Luce to his Time magazine writers:
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Henry Luce to his Time magazine writers: "Tell the history of our time through the people who make it. Walter Isaacson
Imagination pointed toward truth but could not disclose it directly.
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Imagination pointed toward truth but could not disclose it directly. Philip Zaleski
Stories were heirlooms in these parts.
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Stories were heirlooms in these parts. Robert Kurson
Always have class but always kick ass.
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Always have class but always kick ass. A.D. Posey
Write your sacred story.
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Write your sacred story. Lailah Gifty Akita
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A writer is a dangerous friend. Everything you say, all of your life and experience, is fodder for our writing. We mean you no harm, but what you know and what you’ve done is unavoidably fascinating to us. Being friends with a writer is a bit like trying to keep a bear as a pet. They’re wonderful, friendly creatures, but they play rough and they don’t know their own strength or remember that they have claws. Choose the stories you tell to your writer friends carefully. Randy Murray
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May 4, 2006Blog Entry #1There once was a girl who took everything for granted.
 She had friends.
 She had good friends–friends who saw her geeky exterior but loved her anyway, friends who had known her since before she knew herself. But she wanted more.
 She had people who loved her. She had a huge house on a hill. A bedroom as big as a studio apartment. But she still wasn't satisfied. She moved to the ends of the earth … Long Island, New York. She thought it would be exciting. And for a little while it was. But she soon found that life in the “city” wasn’t everything she hoped for. Before long, all the shops and landmarks were meaningless, and she realized that all the parties in the world meant nothing–especially if she didn't have the people to share them with. She decided to make a distress call. She lined up coconuts. H—E—L—PShe spent one and a half years on her “deserted island.” Then, a moving truck finally answered her call. But little did she know that she was returning to her home as a different person. She was returning with lessons of contentment that would stick with her forever. Lessons of gratitude, integrity, faith, and love. Exposure to things and ideas she would have never seen in Snellville, Georgia. How she could be and how her life could be… She drove back down only to find that she wasn't the only one who had changed. Jacquelyn Nicole Davis
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Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream--making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is the very essence of dreams... Joseph Conrad
The world is shaped by two things – stories told...
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The world is shaped by two things – stories told and the memories they leave behind. Vera Nazarian
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I recalled the afternoon when the two of us stood beating erasers, and Camille confided that she'd done penance for stories - stories that I'll never know if she wrote or only imagined writing. She'd wanted me to tell her a secret from my dreams, a secret from my dreams I hadn't had as yet, and so I didn't quite understand what she was after." It's about feeling, " Camille had insisted. I didn't understand then that she was talking about risk. Stuart Dybek
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All writers are demonic dreamers. Writing is an act of sharing experiences and offering of an individualistic perspective of our private attitudes pertaining to whatever topics of thought intrigues the author. Writing is a twitchy art, which attempts to employ linguist building blocks handed-down from past generations. Writers’ word choices form a structure of conjoined sentences when overlaid with the lingua of modern culture. Writers attempt to emulate in concrete form the synesthesia of our personal pottage steeped in our most vivid feelings. Writing a personal essay calls for us to sort out a jungle of lucid observations and express in a tangible technique our unique interpretation of coherent observations interlaced with that effusive cascade of yearning, the universal spice of unfilled desire, which turmoil of existential angst swamps us. Kilroy J. Oldster
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Ha-ha! ' the fox laughed. '*Just* stories, you say, as if stories mean nothing? Stories are the stuff that sticks the world together. Stories are the mud from which we're all made. The power to imagine stories is the power to remake the world as we dream it. C. Alexander London
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Descriptions of dreams have a dubious place in storytelling. For these are dreams which have been imagined--'dreamed up', to be slotted in. A story can be made up. How can a dream be made up? By not rising of its own free will from the unconscious it sets a note of falsity, merely illustrating something 'dream-like', which may be why dream descriptions within stories seen curiously meaningless. To avoid glazing over, best then to turn the page quickly. Murray Bail
With the balcony doors completely open and folded up, his...
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With the balcony doors completely open and folded up, his small room acquired an infinite vista. Somewhere on the horizon, water finally worked up the courage to embrace the sky. Clara Chow
And that’s when I knew she was not doing this...
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And that’s when I knew she was not doing this on purpose; that her stories came from a place deep within her, beyond thought and formal language. Clara Chow
Shamans enter the dream world of sub-consciousness to wrestle with...
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Shamans enter the dream world of sub-consciousness to wrestle with demons and rally angels. They return with tales of their encounters which become the myths and legends of their communities. Jeff Rasley
Comfort yields complacency. Break free.
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Comfort yields complacency. Break free. A.D. Posey
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Everyone is a raconteur without realizing it. We speak to our friends, we speak to our doctors and therapists about the nothing-meaning nonsense that goes on in our lives, but the difference in telling a story and complaining about the ills of one’s life is in the delivery. We can talk about how someone slighted you at work, or we can talk about how that person looked when they promptly fell down the stairs a moment after disdaining you. There, you see, is the difference: people will often notice the main but not the nuance; they will notice the face of the person yelling at them and the pitch of their shouts, but will not notice the comfort that the ululations of agony and twisted limbs lying on the bottom stile can promise. . Michelle Franklin
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Maybe your past isn't perfect. Maybe it was brutal. Maybe you were brutal. Maybe you've got more scars than you thought one skin could hold. You can't linger on those thoughts. You will drown in them. After all, it's only an interesting backstory if you can get past it. Jessica Hagy
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What tale do you like best to hear?' 'Oh, I have not much choice! They generally run on the same theme - courtship; and promise to end in the same catastrophe - marriage. Unknown
When a writer's heart is filled with the music of...
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When a writer's heart is filled with the music of her soul, her words sing. A.D. Posey