Ten of the Best Writing Quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald was probably best known as the chronicler of the jazz age. Though he wasn’t considered a great success during his lifetime, now he is touted as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. A member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s, Fitzgerald published four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby (his most successful and well known), and Tender Is the Night. His fifth, unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, was published posthumously and recently made into a mini-series by Amazon. He also wrote four collections of short stories and published an additional one hundred sixty-four short stories in magazines. (He was also the inspiration for the name of my heroine in the Scotti Fitzgerald Mysteries.)

“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.”

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

 

“Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves – that’s the truth. We have two or three great and moving experiences in our lives – experiences so great and moving that it doesn’t seem at the time anyone else has been so caught up and so pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way ever before. Then we learn our trade, well or less well, and we tell our two or three stories – each time in a new disguise – maybe ten times, maybe a hundred, as long as people will listen.”

“What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.”

 

“You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn. When, in short, you have only your emotions to sell.”

“Life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel. Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.”

“Often I think writing is a sheer paring away of oneself leaving always something thinner, barer, more meagre.”

“Character is plot, plot is character.”

 

“The history of my life is the history of the struggle between an overwhelming urge to write and a combination of circumstances bent on keeping me from it.”

“Every author ought to write every book as if he were going to be beheaded the day he finished it.”

What’s your favorite quote or story from F. Scott Fitzgerald? Feel free to share them in the comments.

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