Quotes by: E. L. Doctorow
|E. L. Doctorow
Doctorow in 2014
||Edgar Lawrence Doctorow
January 6, 1931
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
||July 21, 2015
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
||Writer, editor, professor
||Kenyon College, Columbia University
||The Book of Daniel
Homer & Langley
||Helen Esther Setzer (m. 1953–2015; his death)
I get intrigued by a first lin and I write to find out why it means something to me. You make discoveries just the way the reader does, so you're simultaneously the writer and the reader.
I started on computers with 'Billy Bathgate,' a little orange screen with black letters. I thought it was really cool, but it actually slowed me up for a while because it's so easy to revise, I tended to stay on the same page. I've learned to discipline myself.
I'm not the sort of writer who can walk into a party and take a look around, see who's sleeping with whom and go home and write a novel about society. It's not the way I work.
Things that appear on the front page of the newspaper as 'fact' are far more dangerous than the games played by a novelist, and can lead to wars.
The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.
A period of time is as much an organising principle for a work of fiction as a sense of place. You can do geography, as Faulkner did, or you can dwell on a particular period. It provides the same framework.
In the twentieth century one of the most personal relationships to have developed is that of the person and the state. It's become a fact of life that governments have become very intimate with people, most always to their detriment.
When you're working well, you don't do research. Whatever you need comes to you.
Books are acts of composition: you compose them. You make music: the music is called fiction.
I like commas. I detest semi-colons - I don't think they belong in a story. And I gave up quotation marks long ago. I found I didn't need them, they were fly-specks on the page.
I can walk into a bookstore and hand over my credit card and they don't know who the hell I am. Maybe that says something about bookstore clerks.
Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
Somewhere along the line the rhythms and tonalities of music elided in my brain with the sounds that words make and the rhythm that sentences have.
There is no longer any such thing as fiction or nonfiction; there's only narrative.
I began to ask two questions while I was reading a book that excited me: not only what was going to happen next, but how is this done? How is it that these words on the page make me feel the way I'm feeling? This is the line of inquiry that I think happens in a child's mind, without him even knowing he has aspirations as a writer.