Happy Birthday, Robin Hobb, born 5 March 1952.
- I do rough out an outline of each story, but as I write I find that things change. Characters don’t react as I expect them to, events don’t move as swiftly, or what seemed likely now seems contrived. If at any time a different plot path seems more likely, I allow myself to follow it. So far, I have not regretted it. Oddly enough, books often end just as I expected them to, after taking a very round about path to reach the conclusion.
- Very little about being a writer is signing an autograph. It’s sitting in a room and writing. Getting it out.
- I’m a writer. I’m neither an editor nor a publisher. In other words, I cannot truly advise you how to fix something to make it publishable, nor can I offer to publish and buy it.
- The first thing you have to do is write. There is no easy shortcut about that. Having a great agent or your cousin being best friends with an editor won’t change that. First, you have to write the book (or story) beginning to end. Then you have to make it the best story you can possibly create.
- The second thing you have to do to be a writer is to keep on writing. Don’t listen to people who tell you that very few people get published and you won’t be one of them. Don’t listen to your friend who says you are better than Tolkien and don’t have to try any more. Keep writing, keep faith in the idea that you have unique stories to tell, and tell them. I meet far too many people who are going to be writers ‘someday’. When they are out of high school, when they’ve finished college, after the wedding, when the kids are older, after I retire … That is such a trap.
- I enjoy rewriting much more than I do first drafts. First drafts are really hard. Rewriting you’ve at least got something to work with.
- You will never have any more free time than you do right now. So, whether you are 12 or 70, you should sit down today and start being a writer if that is what you want to do. You might have to write on a notebook while your kids are playing on the swings or write in your car on your coffee break. That’s okay. I think we’ve all ‘been there, done that.’ It all starts with the writing.
- I’ve always preferred to work alone, not sharing my work with anyone until it goes off to an editor. That’s my quirk. Many professionals attribute a lot of their success to workshops and writers’ clubs.
- It isn’t that uncommon in the writing world to have more than one pseudonym, especially if you write in more than one genre. In my case, Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb both write fantasy, but in very different styles and in different ‘slices’ of the genre. By using two different pseudonyms, I am able to let the reader know which voice they are getting in a book. Some readers like both styles. Others most emphatically do not.
- [Writing is] like chasing butterflies and trying not to crush them.
- When we come back to fantasy, I think we’re actually coming back to the real bedrock of storytelling. Our national or international genre really is fantasy, if you think about the worldwide myths and legends and stories that we all know, whether we’re talking about Little Red Riding Hood or the Arabian Nights or Noah’s Ark or Hercules. These are stories that cross many cultures in much the same way that dragons cross many cultures.
- Writers really do that. We weep over our characters. We are saddened sometimes for days when we say goodbye to a world or a character. They do become our best friends. I’ve probably spent more time with them over the past 22, 24 years than I have spent with most of the real members of my family.
Quotes From Books
- The man who must brag for himself knows that no one else will.
- Silence can ask all the questions, where the tongue is prone to ask only the wrong one.
- Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.
- I never confuse the cost of something with its value.
- When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool you end up looking like a moron instead.
- Cats talk to whomever they please.
- Everyone thinks that courage is about facing death without flinching. But almost anyone can do that. Almost anyone can hold their breath and not scream for as long as it takes to die. True courage is about facing life without flinching. I don’t mean the times when the right path is hard, but glorious at the end. I’m talking about enduring the boredom, the messiness, and the inconvenience of doing what is right.
- Diplomacy is the velvet glove that cloaks the fist of power.
- Tomorrow owes you the sum of your yesterdays. No more than that. And no less.
Robin Hobb is an American writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is the author of The Farseer Trilogy (which began with Assassin’s Apprentice), The Liveship Traders Trilogy, and the Tawny Man Trilogy. She also writes as Megan Lindholm, and her works under that name have been finalists for the Hugo award, the Nebula Award, and the Endeavor award. She has won an Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Award twice.
[Top Tip: Learn how to write fantasy. Buy The Fantasy Workbook]
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