Charles Finch Quotes
“Are you going to give a speech?' she asked gaily.
He gave a choked laugh. 'Of course not,' he said. 'Not for ages.'
'My cousin Davey gave one on his very first day!' ...
'In the Lords, I remember. It was about how he didn't like strawberry jam.'
'Be nice, Charles! It was a speech about fruit importation, which I admit devolved into something of a tirade.' She couldn't help but laugh. 'Still, you could talk about something more important.'
'Than jam? Impossible. We mustn't set the bar too high, Jane.”
“To me, the single biggest mark of the amateur writer is a sense of hurry.
Hurry to finish a manuscript, hurry to edit it, hurry to publish it. It’s definitely possible to write a book in a month, leave it unedited, and watch it go off into the world and be declared a masterpiece. It happens every fifty years or so.
For the rest of us, the single greatest ally we have is time. There’s no page of prose in existence that its author can’t improve after it’s been in a drawer for a week. The same is true on the macro level – every time I finish a story or a book, I try to put it away and forget it for as long as I can. When I return, its problems are often so obvious and easy to fix that I’m amazed I ever struggled with them.
Amateur writers are usually desperate to be published, as soon as possible. And I understand that feeling – you just want it to start, your career, your next book, whatever. But I wonder how many self-published novels might have had a chance at getting bought, and finding more readers, if their authors had a bit more patience with them?”
“There are a lot of ways for a novelist to create suspense, but also really only two: one a trick, one an art.
The trick is to keep a secret. Or many secrets, even. In Lee Child’s books, Jack Reacher always has a big mystery to crack, but there are a series of smaller mysteries in the meantime, too, a new one appearing as soon as the last is resolved. J. K. Rowling is another master of this technique — Who gave Harry that Firebolt? How is Rita Skeeter getting her info?
The art, meanwhile, the thing that makes “Pride and Prejudice” so superbly suspenseful, more suspenseful than the slickest spy novel, is to write stories in which characters must make decisions. “Breaking Bad” kept a few secrets from its audience, but for the most part it was fantastically adept at forcing Walter and Jesse into choice, into action. The same is true of “Freedom,” or “My Brilliant Friend,” or “Anna Karenina,” all novels that are hard to stop reading even when it seems as if it should be easy.”
“The river was glossy, narrow, and quick, a beautiful green color, with the white and maroon striped college punts strung along the near bank. .... The sun, westering, heavy, and hazy, was in those great final throes of energy before the sky whitens and clears, and evening comes. I stood and watched it. That immense body, dying trillions of feet away from me, still warming my face with its steady insensate chemistries.”
“Once in a while dancing is immaculate, a perfection: you understand why raves exist: when you’ve timed the drinks correctly and they lift your mood and your energy, the songs are ones you all know, and you look around at the girls, their happy lost faces, their beautiful bare stomachs, their jangly long earrings, something limbic, their skin just damp with sweat to the touch, the whole thing…”
“And as I gazed up at the implacable black of the sky, my body warm from the bed but my face chilled, I thought of the terrible truth we all know, somewhere in our souls: that there has never been a shred of evidence that life goes beyond life. Nobody has sent back word. There is nothing. That does not mean there is nothing. But there is nothing.”
“Suddenly Dallington burst into speech. 'Listen, Lenox - I want to apologize...'
Lenox waved a dismissive hand. 'You're young,' he said. 'There are many lessons before you, some harder than this one... All too often things are blurry, though, John. It's the way of the world. Humans are blurry creatures,”