Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sue Monk Kidd Returns to Anderson, SC!

A writer should never be too sure of herself.
~ Sue Monk Kidd

I had the privilege of going to hear author Sue Monk Kidd tonight. I fell in love with Kidd when I was a sophomore in college and one of my professors, Mrs. Sarah Sprague, told us about her friend who had written a book called The Secret Life of Bees. She told us that Kidd had taught at Anderson College and her husband was the campus minister. Lo and behold, I am talking to my dad that night and he knew who her husband because he was my dad's mentor and friend. I thought that was cool and it was just as cool to know that she and I had a (distant) connection.

I fell in love with her debut novel and have continued to go find her other writings and anticipate her novels. She has since written two books, The Mermaid Chair and Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story which she co-authored with her daughter Anne Kidd Taylor, which are equally amazing. I thought I would share some of the highlights of her lecture with you.

On writing in general...

Having written a book is all about perspective.

The curse of writing is the constant second
guessing of ones self.

Writing requires a lot of courage.

"No art ever came without risking your neck."
-Eudora Welty from
The Eye of the Story

The quintessential questions for a writer are
"Who is this character?" and "What do they want?"
Once you answer those questions,
the story will write itself.

Editor Shannon Ravenel says that there are 5 characteristics to Southern writing:
1. Written in a strong, narrative voice (usually in first person).
2. Themes of race (esp. racial guilt) and human endurance.
3. A deep involvement in place, in family bonds, and in local tradition.

4. A celebration sense of eccentricity.
5. A pervasive sense of humor even in the face of tragedy.

When writing, don't over romanticize the place
you are writing about. The challenge is to tell the
unvarnished truth of what you know.

Fiction creates empathy. If we can write it and
get under the skin of those who are complete opposites
of our characters... we can expand our world!

As writers, we have to make portals to the places
where your characters are. Our subconscious is
full of memories, dreams, feelings and so much
more that we can use when writing. The job of
a writer is to get there and release it... for that
is where our genius is!

When you sit to write- have a block of time to do it.
It is okay to get lost in writing for a bit, but make sure
someone comes to rescue you before you get lost!

On writing The Secret Life of Bees...

I thought I knew the ending and was writing away and then
two-thirds of the way in I realized it was a terrible ending
and scrapped it!

Sometimes we have to work backwards;
know the end and then find the beginning.

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