Writers Write shares writing tips and writing resources. In this post, we share American novelist, Barbara Kingsolver’s top 8 writing tips.
Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist, and poet. She was born 8 April 1955.
Her work focuses on social justice, biodiversity, and the way humans interact with their communities and environments. She is the author of 15 books, including The Poisonwood Bible. Her latest book is Unsheltered.
The Poisonwood Bible, her fourth novel, sold more than four million copies and was chosen for Oprah Winfrey’s book club. Her later novels have made the New York Times bestseller list.
Barbara Kingsolver was named one the most important writers of the 20th Century by Writers Digest. She has received numerous awards, including the Orange Prize for Fiction for The Lacuna and the National Humanities Medal, the United States’s highest honour for service through the arts.
She has also established the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, the nation’s largest prize for an unpublished first novel, which since 1998 has helped to establish the careers of more than a half dozen new literary voices.
Barbara was our guest speaker in 2015 and she shared her top writing tips with us.
Barbara Kingsolver’s Top 8 Writing Tips
- Quit smoking in the hope of growing old. It takes a long time to write. People go to books for wisdom and older authors tend to have more of it.
- Notice. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. If you’re talking about it or thinking about it, I’m not so sure. Writing is ninety-eight percent work and two percent magic.
- Plot comes first. The plot is the architecture of your novel. You wouldn’t build a house without a plan. If I wrote without a plot, it would just be a pile of bricks. Characters are your servants. They must serve your plot.
- Pay attention to your passions. They are the key to starting and finishing the book you are meant to write. I don’t believe in talent. I believe in passion.
- Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
- You can do hard things. When I wrote The Poisonwood Bible, I would practise writing one scene from the viewpoint of each of the four daughters – until their voices started to sound authentic.
- It’s a good idea to set yourself a daily word count. I am happy with 1 000 words a day.
- I research a novel six ways to Sunday. I don’t want to lie to the reader; I want you to trust me.
Visit Barbara’s website.
Source for image: Writers Write Events
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TIP: If you want help writing a book, buy The Novel Writing Exercises Workbook.