Writers are Defined by Their Words

atkins bookshelf quotations“In the most basic way, writers are defined not by the stories they tell, or their politics, or their gender, or their race, but by the words they use. Writing begins with language, and it is in that initial choosing, as one sifts through the wayward lushness of our wonderful mongrel English, that choice of vocabulary and grammar and tone, the selection on the palette, that determines who’s sitting at that desk. Language creates the writer’s attitude toward the particular story he’s decided to tell.”

Donald Edwin Westlake (1933-2008), American writer, best known for his crime fiction. He won three Edgar Awards: one for God Save the Mark (best novel); “Too Many Crooks” (best short story); and The Grifters (Best Movie Screenplay).

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