“One of the first things we have to say to a beginner who has brought us his [manuscript] is, ‘Avoid all epithets which are merely emotional. It is no use telling us that something was “mysterious” or “loathsome” or “awe-inspiring” or “voluptuous”. Do you think your readers will believe you just because you say so? You must go quite a different way to work.

“‘By direct description, by metaphor and simile, by secretly evoking powerful associations, by offering the right stimuli to our nerves (in the right degree and the right order), and by the very beat and vowel-melody and length and brevity of your sentences, you must bring it about that we, we readers, not you, exclaim “how mysterious!” or “loathsome” or whatever it is.

“‘Let me taste for myself, and you’ll have no need to tell me how I should react to the flavour.'”

-C.S. Lewis, Studies in Words

“[I]t’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There’s almost no such thing as ready. There’s only now. And you may as well do it now.

“I mean, I say that confidently as if I’m about to go bungee jumping or something—I’m not. I’m not a crazed risk taker. But I do think that, generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

-Hugh Laurie, “Hugh Laurie sings the blues,” Time Out

“It’s not irrelevant, those moments of connection, those places where fiction saves your life. It’s the most important thing there is.”

-Neil Gaiman, Newbery Medal acceptance speech for The Graveyard Book at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Chicago, July 12, 2009.