Friday, December 6, 2013

Countdown to a Book 16: Author Quotes

In today's world, credentials are king, marketability (your ability to make people believe in your product) comes a close second, and publication completes the trifecta. With less than two months to go until The Art of Falling releases, I am in the throes of answering interview questions for my blog tour. Now that I have a book coming out, it’s as if I’ve tripped over a line of wisdom, and people want to know what I have to say.

But advance degrees and marketing savvy are artificial qualifications as concerns gaining wisdom. Wisdom comes from the school of hard knocks, when life pushes you up against a wall and says, "this is NOT working!" Since this is the place we send our characters to see what they are made of, quotes arise from our stories as our characters fight towards hard-won wisdom.

People love such quotes, that they can print out and paste on their wall. Just look at the number of “highlighters” that litter the pages of your Kindle. Here’s one from Roland Merullo’s novel, Breakfast with Buddha: “When you are a crank, you put yourself on the top of the list of people you make miserable.” Great quote, right? Turns out 292 people (and counting) agree with you.

Want to guess which philosophers came up with these quotes?
1. "To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive." 
2. "All sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh." 
3. "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." 
4. "No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently." 
5. "It is within my power either to serve God or not to serve him. Serving him, I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good, which was in my power to create." 
6. “We don’t get to choose our gifts, just as we don’t get to choose the shape of the vessel into which they are poured. If you fail to claim the gifts, what will you have? The same vessel—just empty.” 
7. "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist though any other medium and will be lost." 
8. "Where there's life, there's hope." 

1. Robert Louis Stevenson
2. Doris Lessing
3. Anais Nin
4. Agnes de Mille
5. Leo Tolstoy
6. Kathryn Craft
7. Martha Graham
8. Kathryn Craft

Hmm… Who is this “Kathryn Craft”?

Since we didn't study wisdom literature in my health and physical education masters program, my quotes didn't arise by any credential other than story. These two came from the mouth of my character Marty Kandelbaum, who is a deep-thinking baker. I love the notion that philosophers travel among us, unlabeled as such, yet still capable of functioning as a spirit guide. This will come up again and again in my fiction—the archetype would be the mentor or crone.

That’s why, when Dani did her post on creating memes to promote books, I thought a meme campaign would be just right for mine. The illustrations on this page are what I’ve come up with so far.

I’ll be adding a few more over the course of the next two months. But if you like what you see here, and have a Facebook account from which you’d like to share them, feel free to go to my Facebook page and share away—I’d love to see these spread far and wide!

And thank you, Dani, BRP's head red pencil pusher—one of the great benefits of being a blog team member is the sharing of such ideas and resources.

How has the Blood-Red Pencil affected your writing life? Have you tried creating memes thanks to Dani, or Bitstrips thanks to Shon? Sharpened grammar thanks to the Style Maven, or taken away useful techniques from any of the other authors and editors here? In this holiday season, we’d love the gift of your feedback in the comments.

Kathryn Craft
is a developmental editor at, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service. Her monthly series, "Countdown to a Book," details the traditional publication of her debut novel, The Art of Falling, by Sourcebooks, due January 28, 2014. It is now available for pre-order. Her monthly series, "Turning Whine into Gold," appears at Writers in the StormConnect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.


  1. Being part of BRP has enriched my writing life immensely. I've gained wisdom and a few really clever hints, like the memes. I intend to try those. I've met lovely people I enjoy hanging out with in the cyber cafes of social media.

  2. Sometimes, when reading these comments, a "Like" button would be just the thing.


  3. 'Wisdom comes from the school of hard knocks' ... guess I flunked out of that school, too.

    1. Don't worry, Christopher, things could always get worse. There may be hope for you yet. ;)

  4. Over my years as a member of BRP, I've gleaned countless bits of wisdom, writing and editing tips, and different perspectives where mine were narrow. Kudos to Dani for envisioning and creating this much-needed forum for writers in all stages of their works and for opening up the blog to writing, editing, and marketing questions that so many have. How wonderful it would have been to have this resource when I stumbled through the process of writing, editing, and publishing my first book! And to all the rest of you, you are indeed treasures. Thank you!

  5. Yes, Kathryn, I'd love a "like" button for comments! We get so used to those on Facebook! LOL. Great ideas, thank you.

  6. You ask, "Hmm… Who is this 'Kathryn Craft'"?

    I think a lot more people are going to be able to answer that question after your book comes out.

    1. Heidi and Linda: Like! And thank you, Linda. A fun notion.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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