Octavia E Butler

Literary Birthday – 22 June – Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler was born 22 June 1947, and died 24 February 2006.

Octavia E. Butler Quotes

  1. I just knew there were stories I wanted to tell.
  2. Fantasy is totally wide open; all you really have to do is follow the rules you’ve set. But if you’re writing about science, you have to first learn what you’re writing about.
  3. First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.
  4. I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining.
  5. You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.
  6. A workshop is a way of renting an audience, and making sure you’re communicating what you think you’re communicating. It’s so easy as a young writer to think you’ve been very clear when in fact you haven’t.
  7. Writing is one of the few professions in which you can psychoanalyse yourself, get rid of hostilities and frustrations in public, and get paid for it.
  8. Write – every day, no excuses. It’s so easy to make excuses. Even professional writers have days when they’d rather clean the toilet than do the writing.
  9. I think writers use absolutely everything that happens to us, and surely if I had had a different sort of childhood and still come out a writer, I’d be a different kind of writer.
  10. When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing.
  11. Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.
  12. I began writing about power because I had so little.
  13. People have the right to call themselves whatever they like. That doesn’t bother me. It’s other people doing the calling that bothers me.

Read: Octavia E. Butler’s Writing Advice

Octavia E. Butler was an American science fiction writer. She was a multiple-recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Her novels include the Patternist and Parable series. Other titles include Kindred and Lilith’s Brood. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship, nicknamed the Genius Grant.

Source for Image: Nikolas Coukouma, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Butler_signing.jpg

[Top Tip: Learn how to write fantasy. Buy The Fantasy Workbook]

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 22nd June 2014