On Writing | Guy de Maupassant, 1850-1893

On Writing Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant by Nadar

“Whether we are describing a king, an assassin, a thief, an honest man, a prostitute, a nun,
a young girl, or a stallholder in a market, it is always ourselves that we are describing.”

“Words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face.
But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.”

“Whatever one wishes to say, there is one noun only by which to express it, one verb only to give it life,
one adjective only which will describe it. One must search until one has discovered them, this noun,
this verb, this adjective, and never rest content with approximations, never resort to trickery,
however happy, or to vulgarism, in order to dodge the difficulty.”

“The public is composed of numerous groups whose cry to us writers is: ‘Comfort me.’ ‘Amuse me.’
‘Touch my sympathies.’ ‘Make me sad.’ ‘Make me dream.’ ‘Make me laugh.’ ‘Make me shiver.’
‘Make me weep.’ ‘Make me think.’ “

“The secret is not to betray your ignorance. Just maneuver, avoid the
quicksands and obstacles, and the rest can be found in a dictionary.”

“I entered literary life as a meteor, and I shall leave it like a thunderbolt.”

Guy de Maupassant, 1850-1893

On [:] The Night | Guy De Maupassant, 1887

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