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There is rarely a person who hasn’t read or heard of Mark Twain. To me, he is one of the most significant figures in American literature—great not only as a writer, but also as a person and a thinker. In everything he wrote or did, you can see extraordinary experiences, life wisdom, and passion for writing and living. Below are some of Mark Twain’s quotes—recharge your inspiration batteries, find answers to what worries you in writing, and simply enjoy.
1. “You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God’s adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by.”
2. “The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell together, as quickly as possible.”
3. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
4. “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.”
5. “I conceive that the right way to write a story for boys is to write so that it will not only interest boys but strongly interest any man who has ever been a boy. That immensely enlarges the audience.”
6. “To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself. Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.”
7. “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
8. “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities—truth isn’t.”
9. “We write frankly and fearlessly, but then we “modify” before we print.”
10. “Write without pay until someone offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this as a sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for.”
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