Quotes with story
Once a novel gets going and I know it is viable, I don't then worry about plot or themes. These things will come in almost automatically because the characters are now pulling the story.
I always tell photographers that you never know who is looking at your pictures or how your pictures are going to affect other people's lives. I wasn't out to save the world. I was out to get a story.
The story is told (by Kierkegaard) of the absent-minded man so abstracted from his own life that he hardly knows he exists until, one fine morning, he wakes up to find himself dead.
Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy (1958)
I suppose the story of my life is a search for love, but more than that, I have been looking for a way to repair myself from the damages I suffered early on and to define my obligation, if I had any, to myself and my species.
New York Times (July 2, 2004)
The whole story of human and personal progress is an unmitigated tale of denials today-denials of rest, denials or repose and comfort and ease and pleasure-that tomorrow may be richer.
The Mastery of Nervousness: Based Upon Self Reeducation (1918)
In every out thrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is a story of the earth.
In 1962, I commented that I am by no means sure that I could write 'Jupiter Five' today; it involved twenty or thirty pages of orbital calculations and should by rights be dedicated to Professor G. C. McVittie, my erstwhile tutor in applied mathematics. (I had better hasten to add that he bears no slightest resemblance to the professor in the story.)
The biblical story of the birth is striking in its absence of information. We never know exactly who the wise men are - philosophers? teachers? astrologers? - nor where the East they came from, nor why they want to follow the star and pay homage to the king of the Jews. It is as though they are symbols, metaphors created by the writers of the Gospels to represent the enthusiasm that the Nativity created in the land.
Pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Published in The New York Times on December 23, 1984.
It is not my purpose to attempt a real autobiography. I simply want to tell the story of my experiments with truth...as my life consists of nothing but those experiments.
An Autobiography (1927)
The story of automation is the story of a one-way shift from human control to automatic control.
Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World (1995)
If future generations ask us what we are fighting for [in World War Two], we shall tell them the story of Lidice.
After the German massacre of civilians in the Czech village of Lidice in June 1942 in reprisal for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.
It's quite a famous story that takes place on Christmas Eve, and the Germans, French, and Scottish are trying to make peace one night and they bury their dead and they play football. I play a German opera singer, in German, which I never have so I am really excited about that.
Don't go into great detail describing places and things. Unless you're Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language or write landscapes in the style of Jim Harrison. But even if you're good at it, you don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.
From Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, as appeared in The New York Times (July 16, 2001)
I don't know that you can speak of shock … Nothing is too shocking for me. I don't really know what is shocking. When you tell the story of a man who is beheaded, you have to show how they cut off his head. If you don't, it's like telling a dirty joke and leaving out the punch line.
Quoted in Atlas magazine (1971)
We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.
Had I been brighter, the ladies been gentler, the Scotch weaker, the gods kinder, the dice hotter - it might have all ended up in a one-sentence story.
I heard a rumor I died, Murdered in cold blood dramatized, Pictures of me in my final state, You know mama cried, But that was fiction, Some coward got the story twisted, Like I no longer existed, Mysteriously missin’, I’m known worldwide, baby, I ain’t hard to find.
Your success story is a bigger story than whatever you’re trying to say on stage... Success makes life easier. It doesn't make living easier.
We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say -- and to feel -- "Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought."
"In Awe of Words," The Exonian, 75th anniversary edition, Exeter University (1930)
We will define history as a mental construct of the past based on evidence which has been carefully subjected to the tests of validity and then critically and systematically ordered and interpreted to present a story of [humans’] interaction with other [humans] in a society.
Probing the Past
AA is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a story of suffering transmuted, under grace, into spiritual progress.
As Bill Sees It: The A.A. Way of Life (December 1967)
History is one just as chemistry is one, a story that has to be told as a whole before it can be dealt with in part.
His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning. As a writer he has mastered everything except language: as a novelist he can do everything, except tell a story: as an artist he is everything except articulate.
The Decay of Lying (1889). A reference to George Meredith's style.
For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.
A Model of Christian Charity, a sermon on board of the Arabella, 1630
History...is not [merely] the past. It is an intellectual process...[the function of which is] to cleanse the story of mankind from the deceiving visions of [a] purposeful past.