Quotations by Allende, Isabel


Erotica is using a feather; pornography is using the whole chicken.

Isabel Allende (b. 1942) Chilean-American writer
(Attributed)

Widely attributed, but without citation. See Pratchett.
Added on 10-Feb-14 | Last updated 29-Dec-20
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I try to write beautifully, but accessibly. In the romance languages, Spanish, French, Italian, there’s a flowery way of saying things that does not exist in English. My husband says he can always tell when he gets a letter in Spanish: the envelope is heavy. In English a letter is a paragraph. You go straight to the point. In Spanish that’s impolite. Reading in English, living in English, has taught me to make language as beautiful as possible, but precise. Excessive adjectives, excessive description — skip it, it’s unnecessary. Speaking English has made my writing less cluttered. I try to read House of the Spirits now, and I can’t. Oh my God, so many adjectives! Why? Just use one good noun instead of three adjectives.

Isabel Allende (b. 1942) Chilean-American writer
In Meredith Maran, ed., Why We Write, ch. 1 (2013)
Added on 20-Jan-14 | Last updated 20-Jan-14
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I need to tell a story. It’s an obsession. Each story is a seed inside of me that starts to grow and grow, like a tumor, and I have to deal with it sooner or later. Why a particular story? I don’t know when I begin. That I learn much later. Over the years I’ve discovered that all the stories I’ve told, all the stories I will ever tell, are connected to me in some way.

Isabel Allende (b. 1942) Chilean-American writer
In Meredith Maran, ed., Why We Write, ch. 1 (2013)
Added on 27-Jan-14 | Last updated 27-Jan-14
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When you feel the story is beginning to pick up rhythm — the characters are shaping up, you can see them, you can hear their voices, and they do things that you haven’t planned, things you couldn’t have imagined — then you know the book is somewhere, and you just have to find it, and bring it, word by word, into this world.

Isabel Allende (b. 1942) Chilean-American writer
In Meredith Maran, ed., Why We Write, ch. 1 (2013)
Added on 3-Feb-14 | Last updated 3-Feb-14
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When you tell a story in the kitchen to a friend, it’s full of mistakes and repetitions. It’s good to avoid that in literature, but still, a story should feel like a conversation. It’s not a lecture.

Isabel Allende (b. 1942) Chilean-American writer
In Meredith Maran, ed., Why We Write, ch. 1 (2013)
Added on 17-Feb-14 | Last updated 17-Feb-14
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