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    donald e. westlake Quotes

    When Stark isn't off sulking somewhere, or whatever he's doing when he won't return my calls, I alternate between the two. That usually works well, though occasionally an idea for the wrong guy drifts through my mind.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: work  wrong  mind  ideas 
     
    Seem to be telling this, but really telling that. Three-dimensional writing, like three-dimensional chess. Nabokov was the other master of that. You could learn something from Nabokov on every page he ever wrote.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: master  learn  writing  chess 
     
    New York doesn't exactly have neighborhoods, the way most cities do. What it has is closer to distinct and separate villages, some of them existing on different continents, some of them existing in different centuries, and many of them at war with one another. English is not the primary language in many of these villages, but the Roman alphabet does still have a slight edge.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: language  war 
     
    I start with the story, almost in the old campfire sense, and the story leads to both the characters, which actors should best be cast in this story, and the language. The choice of words, more than anything else, creates the feeling that the story gives off.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    A grifter's got an irresistible urge to be the guy who's wise. There's nothin' to whipping a fool. Hell, fools are made to be whipped. But to take another pro. Even your partner, who knows you and has his eye on you. That's a score! No matter what happens.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: hell  eyes  wise  fools 
     
    It's so difficult, particularly with an antisocial character. It's much easier if he's already a blank page, but once you've written on him, it's hard to keep him that stripped down.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: character 
     
    My work schedule has changed over the years. The one constant is, when at work on a novel, I try to work seven days a week, so as not to lose touch with that world. Within that, I'm flexible on hours and output.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: work  world  novel  year 
     
    The many magazines, ranging from pulp to slick, that used to serve as both farm teams for writers and lures to readers, with hundreds of short stories every month, don't exist. Most of the doors for new people have been sealed.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: people  stories 
     
    I make a note, set it aside, and hope it makes sense when the time comes to look at it again.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: time  hope 
     
    One of our continuing myths was summed up in Huckleberry Finn: Our escape, what we think of as our escape, is that we can always light out for the territories. Well, we really can't, not anymore, but that's part of the American character - that belief that at any moment, I could just drop the coffee cup and disappear. And it makes for a different self-image and a different story, in a way.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    In order to hold your faith intact be sure it's kept unsullied by fact.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: facts  faith 
     
    Hoke Moseley is a magnificently battered hero. Willeford brings him to us lean and hard and brand-new.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: hero 
     
    When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: men 
     
    If your subject is crime, then you know at least that you're going to have a real story. If your subject is the maturing of a college boy, you may never stumble across a story while you're telling that. But if your story is a college boy dead in his dorm room, you know there's a story in there, someplace.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: crimes  real  boys  college  stories 
     
    The trouble with real life is, there's no reset button.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: real 
     
    Who's a boy gonna talk to if not his mother?
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: boys 
     
    Those 4 guys in the late 60's who attacked a jewel merchant on New York's West 46th St. on the sidewalk, so they could steal his jewel-filled station wagon, which they abandoned 2 blocks later because none of them could drive a stick shift. Where would I be without such people?
    — Donald E. Westlake
    Whenever things sound easy, it turns out there's one part you didn't hear.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    I do bookstore signings, and it seems to me that I get a variety of men and women, more women than I'd expect, and grown-ups among my readers.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: men  women 
     
    As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: people  live  struggle  bad  worth 
     
    Nobody gets everything in this life. You decide your priorities and you make your choices. I'd decided long ago that any cake I had would be eaten.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: choice 
     
    All of the changes in publishing since 1960 are significant. There are far fewer publishers.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    Everybody in New York is looking for something. Once in a while, somebody finds it.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    If you think of movie studio executives, say, as society, then I root for the independent producers.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: society  movie 
     
    If Chester had a failing, it was that he believed people were what they thought they were.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: people  thoughts 
     
    What did Jesus Christ say to the Teamsters? 'Do nothing till I get back.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: jesus  christ 
     
    Eyes wide and blank as the buttons on a first Communion coat.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: eyes 
     
    The August sun, God's blood-blister...
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: god 
     
    In a funny way, the stories keep themselves alive by emerging from one another. I like that.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: funny  stories 
     
    Christmas shows us the ties that bind us together, threads of love and caring, woven in the simplest and strongest way within the family.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: christmas 
     
    If it weren't for received ideas, the publishing industry wouldn't have any ideas at all.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: ideas 
     
    Nothing about it interested me. Or about anything else, except making up stories. If literacy weren't so nearly universal, God knows what I'd be. A drain on the State, I shouldn't wonder.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: wonder  god  stories 
     
    Writing is flat, so if you only have part of one eye working, you still can do the job. It's just that you sit there and you're angry, which doesn't help.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: eyes  help  job  writing 
     
    What advice I would give to anybody about anything. Life is a slow-motion avalanche, and none of us are steering." (When asked in an interview about what question he's tired of being asked.)
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: advice  questions 
     
    Sorry; I have no space left for advice. Just do it.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: advice  space 
     
    I loved it, but social reality impeded. Now I wander in here at 9 in the morning or so, and come back for a while in the afternoon. I am a very lenient boss.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: reality 
     
    For a long while, I found Parker impossible. He went away for 23 years. I tried to bring him back a few times, and I sort of figured out where he came from, why he went away, and why he came back. The thing that I have to tap into for Parker is in some way the outsider. If I can tap into the outsider, I can write about Parker, and if I can't, I can't.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: time  impossible  write  year 
     
    My mother believed in all superstitions, plus she made some up.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: mother 
     
    The fictioneer labors under the constraint of plausibility; his inventions must stay within the capacity of the audience to accept and believe. God, of course, working with facts, faces no limitation.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: believe  facts  god 
     
    When the guy with asthma finally came in from the fire escape, Parker rabbit-punched him and took his gun away.
    — Donald E. Westlake
    tags: fire 
     
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