When a man who is drinking neat gin starts talking about his mother he is past all argument.
The lucky man is he who knows how much to leave to chance.
Novel writing is far and away the most exhausting work I know.
A man who writes for a living does not have to go anywhere in particular, and he could rarely afford to if he wanted.
The work is with me when I wake up in the morning; it is with me while I eat my breakfast in bed and run through the newspaper, while I shave and bathe and dress.
There is no other way of writing a novel than to begin at the beginning at to continue to the end.
When I die there may be a paragraph or two in the newspapers. My name will linger in the British Museum Reading Room catalogue for a space at the head of a long list of books for which no one will ever ask.
Novel writing wrecks homes.
I’d rather be in trouble for having done something than for not having done anything.
I formed a resolution to never write a word I did not want to write; to think only of my own tastes and ideals, without a thought of those of editors or publishers.
I did not ask for objections, but for comments, or helpful suggestions. I looked for more loyalty from you, Captain Hornblower.’ That made the whole argument pointless. If Leighton only wanted servile agreement there was no sense in continuing.
I must be like the princess who felt the pea through seven mattresses; each book is a pea.
Perhaps that suspicion of fraud enhances the flavor.
Everything was in stark and dreadful contrast with the trivial crises and counterfeit emotions of Hollywood, and I returned to England deeply moved and emotionally worn out.
Clairvoyant, Hornblower could foresee that in a year’s time, the world would hardy remember the incident. In twenty years, it would be entirely forgotten. Yet those headless corpses up there in Muzillac; those shattered redcoats; those Frenchmen caught in the four-pounder’s blast of canister — they were as dead as if it had been a day in which history had been changed.
I thank God daily for the good fortune of my birth, for I am certain I would have made a miserable peasant.
The fools ran after me and I ran after the whores, foolish though I realized such a proceeding to be.
I have heard of novels started in the middle, at the end, written in patches to be joined together later, but I have never felt the slightest desire to do this.
A whim, a passing mood, readily induces the novelist to move hearth and home elsewhere. He can always plead work as an excuse to get him out of the clutches of bothersome hosts.