12 E.L. Doctorow Quotes for Writers and About Writing

Here are 12 E.L. Doctorow quotes for writers and about writing from the author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, and The March. In these quotes, Doctorow covers novel writing, the mind, retirement, and more.
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Here are 12 E.L. Doctorow quotes for writers and about writing from the author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, and The March. In these quotes, Doctorow covers novel writing, the mind, retirement, and more.

E.L. Doctorow was the author of several novels, including Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, and The March (all of which won the National Book Critics Circle Award). Many of his books have been adapted into movies and often placed fictional characters into familiar historical contexts interacting with known historical figures.

(Writing historical fiction from fact.)

Doctorow was born January 6, 1931. In his early 20s, he was drafted into the Army and served in West Germany in 1954-55 before becoming a reader for a motion picture company. Then, he worked as a book editor at New American Library and Dial Press before pursuing a full-time writing career. Along the way, he also taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Princeton University, and other institutions. He died of lung cancer on July 21, 2015.

Here are 12 E.L. Doctorow quotes for writers and about writing that cover novel writing, retirement, and more.

12 E.L. Doctorow quotes for writers and about writing

"America never gives you anything without you having to pay for it."

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"If you think about it, all novels, all stories, are set in the past."

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"I've always thought that I don't have a style, that I don't want one, that each book has its own style. That's its identity."

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Write Better Novels!

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Push yourself beyond your comfort zone and take your writing to new heights with this Advanced Novel Writing workshop meant for novelists who are looking for book editing and specific feedback on their work. When you take this online workshop, you won't have weekly reading assignments or lectures. Instead, you'll get to focus solely on completing your novel.

While it is possible to write a novel in a month, in this workshop you'll spend 15 weeks writing yours—all the while gaining valuable feedback and getting the encouragement you need in order to finish writing your novel. You'll also learn specific tips for outlining and how not to write a novel. One thing is for certain though—by the end of this online workshop, you will have the tools and know-how to write a great novel.

Click to continue.

"I've never thought about retiring. Most writers die before they retire."

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"One of the things I had to learn as a writer was to trust the act of writing."

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"People know that novelists are liars. And that's why we can be trusted to tell the truth."

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"The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.'"

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(Free charts and tips for outlining and plotting a novel.)

"The nature of good fiction is that it dwells in ambiguity."

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"We may never understand the way the brain becomes the mind, but if we ever do, that's the end of us."

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"Writing is immensely difficult. The short forms especially."

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"Writing is not a matter of inventing; it's a matter of discovering."

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"You do have to learn about yourself while you're writing, and your characteristic ways of self-sabotage."

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