I'm a great believer in gathering together all your obsessions and seeing if you can make a novel out of them.

— Scarlett Thomas

The most special Scarlett Thomas quotes that will inspire your inner self

Routine kills creative thought.

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People make events into stories. Stories give events meaning.

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The sky was the colour of sad weddings.

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But I quite like the way you can talk about science without necessarily using mathematics, but using metaphors instead.

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Sometimes you have to trust grownups, perhaps more so when they are not there to actually supervise you.

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Some writers, notably Anton Chekov, argue that all characters must be admirable, because once we've looked at anyone deeply enough and understood their motivation we must identify with them rather than judge them.

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Honesty and authenticity are a big deal for me.

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One of the paradoxes of writing is that when you write non-fiction everyone tries to prove that it's wrong, and when you publish fiction, everyone tries to see the truth in it.

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I think predictability is built into any good novel in some way - you begin reading Anna Karenina and you know pretty much what's going to happen at the end. But that doesn't mean you know what's going to happen in the middle. For me, it's that sense of what happens in the middle that's important.

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In real life nothing means anything. Stuff happens and there just is no structure.

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In some ways I'm a frustrated scientist or mathematician.

The amount of times I've thought I'd go back to university and do theoretical physics because I like the big questions, but really I know now that that's not quite me. What's me is to do it in novels.

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If something wants to be a story, it will be.

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About Scarlett Thomas

Quotes 34 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday 1972

I always got a bit pissed off with those broadsheet sceptics who make their living being passionately angry about homeopathy, God, synchronicity or whatever, because it's as if they can't get past their emotions, and in their rage they become as faith-driven as the beliefs they criticise. I always said they give scientists a bad name. After all, science has to be about asking unthinkable questions, not closing down debate.

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One of the biggest problems for beginning writers is this need to over-explain.

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I erased the thought from my mind, but I couldn't undo the fact that I'd had the thought in the first place.

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I pray for meaning. I pray for the limits of reality to become clear. For a world – and a type of being – that makes sense. I pray for a life after death that is not like this life. I pray for the end of mystery. What would a life be like with all the mysteries solved? If there were no questions, there’d be no stories. If there were no stories, there’d be no language. If there was no language there’d be no . . . What?

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Homeopaths argue that water has a memory.

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My novels are high concept. I guess big ideas interest me more than, say, the minutiae of domestic life.

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Real life is physical. Give me books instead. Give me the invisibility of the contents of books, the thoughts, the ideas, the images. Let me become part of a book. . . . an intertextual being: a book cyborg, or, considering that books aren't cybernetic, perhaps a bibliorg.

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What folly takes light through ether to each eye from every horizon.

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You can't do science in a novel, but you can do philosophy.

Or, if you're really lucky, you can manage to pose a question in such a way that other people will take it on.

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For other people, love is like some rare orchid that can only grow in one place under a certain set of conditions. For me it's like bindweed. It grows with no encouragement at all, under any conditions, and just strangles everything else.

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I wonder at what point my life swerved to avoid that, and if that life would have been nicer than the one I've got.

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I wonder if the reason I tend to say yes to everything is because I deeply believe that I can survive anything.

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Everything I know I imagine everyone else knows as well.

And then everything that everyone else knows I imagine they know on top of what I know, so I'm constantly anxious about what everyone else knows.

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One minute I was playing chess and doing maths all the time, the next I had been rerouted into more 'normal' girls' activities: reading, writing stories and worrying about my clothes.

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It's not even a question of whether the universe is meaningful or meaningless.

It's in what way could it be meaningful, or in what way, if it was meaningful, could that be even more meaningless than normal meaninglessness?

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Over to my left is the big grey wall in front of the church.

Are we the Thoughts of God? a poster asks. No, I realise. It's the reverse.

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Most people would look at an animal in a cage and instinctively feel that it should be set free. . . . It's a dangerous world out there, filled with predators. . . . What would you prefer? A comfortable, safe, warm, cosy life in a cage, or an uncertain life of freedom.

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Living for ever would be like marrying yourself, with no possibility of a divorce.

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I think about stories and their logic and wonder if there can be any such thing as simply "there is a book.

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I hate stereotypes and I hate cliche.

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Homeopathy seemed . . . both mathematical and poetic.

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