Lois Lowry

Lois LowryLois Lowry is the author of several young adult books including The Giver and Number the Stars.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

Blocked or not (and in truth I seldom am), I begin each day by reading poetry. I'm not a poet myself. But somehow to enter that world where language is distilled and precise, and where cadence and word selection are essential...it propels me into my own work with a heightened sense of excitement and possibility.

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

Throughout the writing of a piece of fiction I continually ask myself questions. Why does he want this? When should she know this? Why does this matter to them? Should this be kept secret? The thing I question most, throughout, is motivation. I suppose these questions are "prompts" in a way—at least they are for me. I think a piece of fiction is writing that answers questions throughout...but also raises new ones.

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

I went to Brown University when I was seventeen, to major in writing. Professor Charles Philbrick at Brown was the teacher from whom I learned the most, and presumably he taught me many things about language and craft. But what I remember as most valuable was his telling me that I needed to experience things. I was clever at writing but so young and had so little knowledge of life. Of course that was frustrating advice because I wanted to "be a writer" immediately. But he was right. I needed to live, to mature, to observe, to experience....and then, eventually, to put it together on the page.