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Writing advice from leading authors

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, shares his tips for writers.

Q: What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
A: Stop trying to ‘fix’ the problem, and think outside the box. Approach the impasse from a different angle entirely. This often helps me understand how I ended up at the impasse to begin with. I like to think of writer’s block as a symptom, as a clue to an underlying problem which must be discovered and dealt with.

Q: What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
A: I think of a line of dialogue or a very simple image, and use that as the starting point. The starting image for my first novel for instance was-I know, predictably enough-two kites in the sky. On a day to day basis, my prompt is to read the last two pages of what I wrote the day before and try to hop back onboard. Some days, I will not write everything I have in mind, and will a note, a few lines, as a prompt for the following day.

Q: What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
A: "Don't give this up." From my dear friend Jack Chaboud, in France, when I was 13. He was a neighbor and became very close to my family. He was working for Esso at the time, and became a writer himself many years later. His advice has served me well over the years.


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