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John Irving's Quotes

John Irving profile photo

Born: 1942-03-02
Profession: Novelist
Nation: American
Biography of John Irving

See the gallery for quotes by John Irving. You can to use those 8 images of quotes as a desktop wallpapers.
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When I feel like being a director, I write a novel.

Tags: Director, Novel, Write

Writing a novel is actually searching for victims. As I write I keep looking for casualties. The stories uncover the casualties.

Tags: Keep, Write, Writing

And I don't want to begin something, I don't want to write that first sentence until all the important connections in the novel are known to me. As if the story has already taken place, and it's my responsibility to put it in the right order to tell it to you.

Tags: Place, Put, Tell

I don't begin a novel or a screenplay until I know the ending. And I don't mean only that I have to know what happens. I mean that I have to hear the actual sentences. I have to know what atmosphere the words convey.

Tags: Mean, Until, Words

I had been a student in Vienna, and one of the neat little things I had found out was about that zoo. It was a good debut novel for me to have published. I was 26 or 27 when it was published. I already had a kid and would soon have a second.

Tags: Found, Good, Student

I suppose I'm proudest of my novels for what's imagined in them. I think the world of my imagination is a richer and more interesting place than my personal biography.

Tags: Biography, Personal, Place

If I have any advantage, maybe, as a writer, it is that I don't think I'm very interesting. I mean, beginning a novel with the last sentence is a pretty plodding way to spend your life.

Tags: Life, Mean, Pretty

No adult in my family would ever tell me anything about who my father was. I knew from an older cousin - only four years older than I am - everything, or what little I could discover about him.

Tags: Family, Father, Him

Sigmund Freud was a novelist with a scientific background. He just didn't know he was a novelist. All those damn psychiatrists after him, they didn't know he was a novelist either.

Tags: After, Either, Him

Sometimes that's a year, sometimes it's 18 months, where all I'm doing is taking notes. I'm reconstructing the story from the back to the front so that I know where the front is.

Tags: Sometimes, Story, Year

When I was still in prep school - 14, 15 - I started keeping notebooks, journals. I started writing, almost like landscape drawing or life drawing. I never kept a diary, I never wrote about my day and what happened to me, but I described things.

Tags: Life, School, Writing

You don't want to dwell on your enemies, you know. I basically feel so superior to my critics for the simple reason that they haven't done what I do. Most book reviewers haven't written 11 novels. Many of them haven't written one.

Tags: Book, Done, Simple

You know, people think you have to be dumb to skip rope for 45 minutes. No, you have to be able to imagine something else. While you're skipping rope, you have to be able to see something else.

Tags: Able, Else, While

If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.

Tags: Courage, Life, Love

If you presume to love something, you must love the process of it much more than you love the finished product.

Tags: Finished, Love, Process

I think the sport of wrestling, which I became involved with at the age of 14... I competed until I was 34, kind of old for a contact sport. I coached the sport until I was 47. I think the discipline of wrestling has given me the discipline I have to write.

Tags: Age, Old, Write

You can't learn everything you need to know legally.

Tags: Learn, Legal, Legally

And I find - I'm 63, and my capacity to be by myself and just spend time by myself hasn't diminished any. That's the necessary part of being a writer, you better like being alone.

Tags: Alone, Time, Writer

Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you - and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!

Tags: Away, Forget, Memory

I do know where I'm going and it's just a matter of finding the language to get there.

Tags: Finding, Language, Matter

You've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed.

Tags: Obsessed, Stay

Half my life is an act of revision.

Tags: Act, Half, Life

I've always preferred writing in longhand. I've always written first drafts in longhand.

Tags: Drafts, Writing, Written

I have pretty thick skin, and I think if you're going to be in this business, if you're going to be an actor or a writer, you better have a thick skin.

Tags: Actor, Business, Pretty

More than a half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting. I wouldn't say I have a talent that's special. It strikes me that I have an unusual kind of stamina.

Tags: Life, Special, Talent

Good habits are worth being fanatical about.

Tags: Good, Habits, Worth
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I have a very poor record at multiple choice questions.

Tags: Choice, Poor, Questions

To each other, we were as normal and nice as the smell of bread. We were just a family. In a family even exaggerations make perfect sense.

Tags: Family, Nice, Perfect

I take people very seriously. People are all I take seriously, in fact. Therefore, I have nothing but sympathy for how people behave - and nothing but laughter to console them with.

Tags: Fact, Laughter, Sympathy

I've always been a fan of the 19th century novel, of the novel that is plotted, character-driven, and where the passage of time is almost as central to the novel as a major minor character, the passage of time and its effect on the characters in the story.

Tags: Character, Story, Time

I never know when I finish the novel I am writing which will be the next novel out of the station.

Tags: Next, Novel, Writing

My old coach used to say that if you were in it for the match, if you were in it for the trophies, you were in it for the wrong reasons.

Tags: Old, Used, Wrong

So, I don't work in terms of real time. I don't work in a timely fashion.

Tags: Real, Time, Work

The building of the architecture of a novel - the craft of it - is something I never tire of.

Tags: Building, Craft, Novel

There are few things as seemingly untouched by the real world as a child asleep.

Tags: Child, Few, Real

There's no reason you should write any novel quickly.

Tags: Novel, Reason, Write

There's no reason you shouldn't, as a writer, not be aware of the necessity to revise yourself constantly.

Tags: Reason, Writer, Yourself

Whatever I write, no matter how gray or dark the subject matter, it's still going to be a comic novel.

Tags: Dark, Matter, Whatever