Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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THE FOUNDATION FOR GREAT SUCCESS
August 24, 2009 |
Post to the Host:
Mr. Keillor, I am a 16 year old writer, and I love it, but I can never find ideas. Writer's block to the max! Unfortunately, it happens quite frequently. Do you have any advice for an aspiring young writer?
The first obligation of a young writer is to describe your parents, a major project. I also think you should start a novel right away. I put mine off for years, thinking I wasn't ready, but it's invaluable experience ---- to set out to write a sustained work of prose fiction of a hundred-thousand words or so. The main character is you yourself, it's set in Bristol, and your parents are definitely in it. Your main character has to get in trouble and then get out. And maybe that's the problem here, Jackie. You've been too good, too obliging, helpful, kind, considerate, thoughtful, generous, responsible, etc etc. It's hard to be interesting writing about pure goodness. Find some vein of evil within yourself and work from that. You don't need to enact these things in real life, by the way. Unless, of course, you want to. The way to write a novel is to write a few hundred words a day, every day, no fail. So try it. Maybe it'll be a big failure, but big failures can build the foundation for great success. Good luck.