The Banana Peel Of The Parts Of Speech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some trenchant reflections on the art and craft of writing...

 

 

This book fills a much-needed gap.

Moses Hadas

 

Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane.

George Orwell

 

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work.

Emile Zola

 

Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.

Joan Didion

 

Men of few words are the best men.

William Shakespeare

 

Why don't you write books people can read?

Nora Joyce (to James)

 

The letter I have written today is longer than usual because I lacked the time to make it shorter.

Blaise Pascal

 

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.

Robert Graves

 

Four basic premises of good writing: clarity, brevity, simplicity and humanity.

William Zinsser

 

The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.

George Bernard Shaw

 

No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.

H G Wells

 

The adjective is the banana peel of the parts of speech.

Clifton Fadiman

 

The work was like peeling an onion. The outer skin came off with difficulty, but in no time you'd be down to the innards, tears streaming from your eyes as more and more beautiful reductions became possible.

Edward Blishen

 

An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff.

Adlai Stevenson

 

I trust it will not be giving away professional secrets to say that many readers would be surprised, perhaps shocked, at the questions which some newspaper editors will put to a defenseless woman under the guise of flattery.

Kate Chopin

 

Where were you fellows when the paper was blank?

Fred Allen

 

You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.

Saul Bellow

 

This book has too much space between the covers.

Ambrose Bierce

 

 

Comments 6

 
Katherine Gregor on Tuesday, 29 December 2015 21:48

"An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff."
Adlai Stevenson
This has to be my favourite!

Do you know this one:
"From a book review: “It is not a book to be lightly thrown aside. It should be thrown with great force.”
—Sid Ziff in Los Angeles Mirror-News
(sometimes this is attributed to Dorothy Parker)

"An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff." Adlai Stevenson This has to be my favourite! Do you know this one: "From a book review: “It is not a book to be lightly thrown aside. It should be thrown with great force.” —Sid Ziff in Los Angeles Mirror-News (sometimes this is attributed to Dorothy Parker)
Rosy Cole on Wednesday, 30 December 2015 15:03

I think it's my favourite, too, Katia, although it's a close run thing with the H G Wells quote.

If only we could return to the days before literary agents, when authors dealt direct with publishers and publishers had professional and experienced editors with flair who could gain the confidence of authors and work together sympathetically with them! It was possible, then, to have a literary career, albeit, for most, a modest one. Before technology enabled everyone with a keyboard to fancy himself/herself Hemingway and Susan Hill, separating the grain from the chaff was a much easier task. I'm sure you've seen quoted the modern publishing response to the frequent cry against what gets published when there are better books on offer: "Ah, but when we publish rubbish, there's a reason.' !!!

I saw the other day a well-known and well-respected agent (by me, among the rest) asking indie publishers to desist in order to make way for mainstream books! (Spot the paradox.) Give authors a truly inspired and professional publishing industry, ready to play a part in what happens after the text is between covers, and they will fall into line.

Yes, I have always believed that quote you mention to be from the invincible Dorothy Parker :-)

I think it's my favourite, too, Katia, although it's a close run thing with the H G Wells quote. If only we could return to the days before literary agents, when authors dealt direct with publishers and publishers had professional and experienced editors with flair who could gain the confidence of authors and work together sympathetically with them! It was possible, then, to have a literary career, albeit, for most, a modest one. Before technology enabled everyone with a keyboard to fancy himself/herself Hemingway and Susan Hill, separating the grain from the chaff was a much easier task. I'm sure you've seen quoted the modern publishing response to the frequent cry against what gets published when there are better books on offer: "Ah, but when we publish rubbish, there's a reason.' !!! I saw the other day a well-known and well-respected agent (by me, among the rest) asking indie publishers to desist in order to make way for mainstream books! (Spot the paradox.) Give authors a truly inspired and professional publishing industry, ready to play a part in what happens after the text is between covers, and they will fall into line. Yes, I have always believed that quote you mention to be from the invincible Dorothy Parker :-)
Anonymous on Tuesday, 29 December 2015 23:24

These quote are marvelous, Rosy. Most of them truly resonated with me. One of my favorite quotes, which has been attributed to several people is, "Writing is easy; just open a vein and bleed." Paul Gallico may have been the earliest to use it. I wish we new who really said it first. It's brilliant.

These quote are marvelous, Rosy. Most of them truly resonated with me. One of my favorite quotes, which has been attributed to several people is, "Writing is easy; just open a vein and bleed." Paul Gallico may have been the earliest to use it. I wish we new who really said it first. It's brilliant.
Rosy Cole on Wednesday, 30 December 2015 15:08

I'm so glad you enjoyed them. Thank you. Yes, I've seen that quote with various attributions and also used without any, as an expression of the writer's feelings.

But it does get easier as you get older. The first fifty years are the worst. Clearly you haven't been at it long enough to have discovered that yet :-)

I'm so glad you enjoyed them. Thank you. Yes, I've seen that quote with various attributions and also used without any, as an expression of the writer's feelings. But it does get easier as you get older. The first fifty years are the worst. Clearly you haven't been at it long enough to have discovered that yet :-)
Anonymous on Wednesday, 30 December 2015 15:33

ROTFLOL Thank you for the compliment, Rosy. I've been around a very long time and it doesn't get any easier for me. I won't say exactly how old I am but I would like to state for the record that there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I had a pet dinosaur! ;)

ROTFLOL Thank you for the compliment, Rosy. I've been around a very long time and it doesn't get any easier for me. I won't say exactly how old I am but I would like to state for the record that there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I had a pet dinosaur! ;)
Jane Phillipson Wilson on Friday, 01 January 2016 04:24

Thank you so much for sharing these!

Thank you so much for sharing these!
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