I can’t remember how many times I advised students to stop writing the sunny hours and write from where it hurts: No one wants to read polite. It puts them to sleep.

— Anne Bernays

The most memorable Anne Bernays quotes you will be delighted to read

Tell a female she's thin and she's yours for life.

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It sounds shameful, but on my best days I write only about three or four hours.

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Nice writing isn't enough. It isn't enough to have smooth and pretty language. You have to surprise the reader frequently, you can't just be nice all the time. Provoke the reader. Astonish the reader. Writing that has no surprises is as bland as oatmeal. Surprise the reader with the unexpected verb or adjective. Use one startling adjective per page.

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Publishers never tell writers anything. They're all crazy and they drive me crazy.

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You can teach almost anyone determined to learn them the basics required to write sentences and paragraphs that say what you want them to say clearly and concisely. It's far more difficult to get people to think like a writer, to give up conventional habits of mind and emotion. You must be able to step inside your character's skin, and at the same time to remain outside the dicey circumstances you have maneuvered her into.

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There's a sureness to good writing even when what's being written about doesn't make all that much sense. It's the sureness of the so-called seat of an accomplished horseback rider or a sailor coming about in a strong wind. The words have both muscle and grace, familiarity and surprise.

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