14 Shirley Jackson Quotes for Writers and About Writing

Here are 14 Shirley Jackson quotes for writers and about writing from the author of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, "The Lottery," and The Haunting of Hill House. In these quotes, Jackson covers story, readers, and more.
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Here are 14 Shirley Jackson quotes for writers and about writing from the author of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, "The Lottery," and The Haunting of Hill House. In these quotes, Jackson covers story, readers, and more.

 Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson

While she wrote six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories, most people know Shirley Jackson for her novel The Haunting of Hill House and her short story "The Lottery." Many readers regard The Haunting of Hill House one of, if not, the best ghost stories ever written; and "The Lottery" is a classic dystopian short story that many consider one of the most famous American short stories.

(Click here for 7 tricks for writing terrifying horror fiction and monster stories.)

Jackson was a reclusive writer and refrained from speaking about her own writings. However, she has offered up quite a few excellent quotes on the process of writing and storytelling.

Here are 14 Shirley Jackson quotes for writers and about writing.

14 Shirley Jackson quotes for writers and about writing

"In the country of the story the writer is king."

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"All you have to do--and watch this carefully, please--is keep writing."

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"Use all the tools at your disposal. The language is infinitely flexible, and your use of it should be completely deliberate."

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"Do not try to puzzle your reader unnecessarily; a puzzled reader is an antagonistic reader."

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"Remember, the reader is a very tough customer indeed, dragging his feet, easily irritated."

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"As much as possible free yourself from useless and clumsy statements about action."

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"A bore is a bore, on the page or off it."

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"I delight in what I fear."

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"So long as you write it away regularly nothing can really hurt you."

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"A story is, after all, made up only of words."

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"I think that the popular notion of the writer as a person hiding away in a garret, unable to face reality, is probably perfectly true."

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"I am apt to find, in the laundry list, a scribble reading, 'Shirley, don't forget--no murder before chapter five.'"

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"Someday the English teachers of the world are going to be made to suffer for what they do to writers."

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"The very nicest thing about being a writer is that you can afford to indulge yourself endlessly with oddness, and nobody can really do anything about it, as long as you keep writing and kind of using it up, as it were.'"

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