‘To record the world as it is. To set down the past before it is all forgotten. To excavate the past because it has been forgotten… Because to write is to take risks, and it is only by taking risks that we know we are alive. To produce order out of chaos… To thumb my nose at Death… To pass the time, even though it would have passed anyway.’

– Margaret Atwood, On Writers and Writing

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‘Religion had plummeted into their lives as unexpectedly as a meteor, and created a chasm, separating the family into two clashing camps… Alert and compliant, Peri was witness to the vendettas, watching how her loved ones would tear each other to pieces. Early on she learned that there was no fight more hurtful than a family fight, and no family fight more hurtful than one over God.’

– Elif Shafak, Three Daughters of Eve

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‘When writing goes painfully, when it’s hideously difficult, and one feels real despair (ah, the despair, silly as it is, is real!)–then naturally one ought to continue with the work; it would be cowardly to retreat. But when writing goes smoothly–why then one certainly should keep on working, since it would be stupid to stop. Consequently one is always writing or should be writing.’

– Joyce Carol Oates (Quote of the day on Advice to Writers)

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‘Try, if possible, to finish in the concrete, with an action, a movement, to carry the reader forward. Never forget that a story begins long before you start it and ends long after you end it. Allow your reader to walk out from your last line and into her own imagination. Find some last-line grace. This is the true gift of writing. It is not yours anymore. It belongs in the elsewhere. It is the place you have created. Your last line is the first line for everybody else.’

– Colum McCann

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“What I’ve understood from my reading, and I’ve read a lot, is that there are only three possible endings, once you’ve got rid of the Hollywood falsity of a happy ending – and those three endings are revenge, tragedy and forgiveness. There is nothing else… revenge and tragedy usually go to together and it’s only forgiveness which allows the story to move on from that last page, from that finality into a new possibility.”

Jeanette Winterson

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