Carole Buggé

Carole BuggéCarole Bugge is the author of mystery novels such as Silent Slaughter.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

I was baffled when I came across this term years ago. Why don't people speak of "engineer's block" or "nurse's block" or - better yet - "teacher's block?" What is so damn special about writers?

What I do when I feel "stuck" on a project is to walk away from it. Take a bike ride, get on a horse, a bus, a train, and stare out the window. Anything to shake up your brain. The worst thing you can do is chain yourself to your desk and stare at the screen. When you're sufficiently relaxed, the answers will come to you. Or you can work on another project - anything but the one you're stuck on.

On the other hand, if you're just being lazy, then by all means, chain yourself to your desk. You have to know yourself well enough to know the difference.

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

I think any writing exercise can be useful in the right situation. One thing that my students quite like and that I really enjoy reading is: List five things you hate. List five things your love. Pick one and write about it. That will tend to automatically engage the emotions, which is such an important aspect in writing. The results of this exercise can range from hilarious to deeply touching.

What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?

I'm going to have to say the best advice I got was by example: my parents read all the time. They read to me, to each other, aloud or alone, and they instilled in me a love of knowledge and of books.

My mother took us to the library, and she would read our favorite books aloud, doing the voices of all the characters. I still here my mother's voice when I reread my favorite children's books, like Winnie the Pooh or Five Children and It. Her version of Eeyore the depressed donkey is still the best!

Read everything you can get your hands on. And then try to think how you might write it better.