Quotes from Robin McKinley

I’ve read Robin McKinley‘s book Sunshine, it was the one I liked best. I know I’ve read others but Sunshine sticks in my mind a lot more.

“Just keep writing. Keep reading. If you are meant to be a writer, a storyteller, it’ll work itself out. You just keep feeding it your energy, and giving it that crucial chance to work itself out. By reading and writing.”

“it goes something like ‘There are a lot of ways to be yourself.”

“I like to assume that since I drive a car and maintain a respectable credit rating and rarely murder anyone and bury them in the back garden unless they really deserve it, that the fact that I hear voices won’t unduly disturb anyone.”

“The great thing about fantasy is that you can drag dreams and longings and hopes and fears and strivings out of your subconscious and call them ‘magic’ or ‘dragons’ or ‘faeries’ and get to know them better. But then I write the stuff. Obviously I’m prejudiced.”

“The story is always better than your ability to write it.”

“One of the biggest, and possibly the biggest, obstacle to becoming a writer… is learning to live with the fact that the wonderful story in your head is infinitely better, truer, more moving, more fascinating, more perceptive, than anything you’re going to manage to get down on paper. (And if you ever think otherwise, then you’ve turned into an arrogant self-satisfied prat, and should look for another job or another avocation or another weekend activity.) So you have to learn to live with the fact that you’re never going to write well enough. Of course that’s what keeps you trying — trying as hard as you can — which is a good thing.”

“I advise those who want to become writers to study veterinary medicine, which is easier. You don’t want to be a writer unless you have no choice – and if you have no choice, good luck to you.”

“When you write your first novel you don’t really know what you’re doing. There may be writers out there who are brilliant, incisive and in control from their first ‘Once upon a time’. I’m not one of them. Every once upon a time for me is another experience of white-water rafting in a leaky inner tube. And I have this theory that while the Story Council has its faults, it does have some idea that if books are going to get written, authors have to be able to write them.”

“I’m also old… and my own gift for writing fantasy grows out of very literal-minded, pragmatic soil: the things I do when I’m not telling stories have always been pretty three-dimensional. I used to say that the only strong attraction reality ever had for me was horses and horseback riding, but I’ve also been cooking and going for long walks since I was a kid (yes, the two are related), and I’m getting even more three dimensionally biased as I get older — gardening, bell ringing… piano playing… And the stories I seem to need to write seem to need that kind of nourishment from me — how you feed your story telling varies from writer to writer. My story-telling faculty needs real-world fresh air and experiences that create calluses (and sometimes bruises).”

“What you describe is how it happens to everyone: magic does slide through you, and disappear, and come back later looking like something else. And I’m sorry to tell you this, but where your magic lives will always be a great dark space with scraps you fumble for. You must learn to sniff them out in the dark.”

“My books happen. They tend to blast in from nowhere, seize me by the throat, and howl ‘Write me! Write me now!’ But they rarely stand still long enough for me to see what and who they are, before they hurtle away again. And so I spend a lot of time running after them, like a thrown rider after an escaped horse, saying ‘Wait for me! Wait for me!’ and waving my notebook in the air.”

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