Alan first taught a summer creative writing workshop at UCLA in 1998, and has been teaching and lecturing on the creative process in L.A. and at colleges around the country ever since.
LW: You must have now met hundreds of people with the desire to tell their stories. What key differences are there between writers who dream and writers who do? Continue reading
LW: Your novel Snow Hunters is about Yohan, a North Korean taken captive in the Korean War. When the war is over, he elects to go to Brazil, where he takes an apprenticeship under Kiyoshi, a Japanese tailor in a small fishing town. He is nurtured by Kiyoshi, he befriends some street children, and over time makes a new life for himself. Where did these characters come from? What drew you to this particular story?
PY: I had finished my story collection and knew I wanted to do something different for my next project—and for me, usually, “different” has a lot do with place; so I was looking for a new place to set the new project but I wasn’t entirely ready to let go of Korea, either. Then, I stumbled upon a historical tidbit about North Korean POWs defecting to South America after the war.
My main character and I share a few things in common, like she lives in the suburbs where I grew up, and she isn’t so sure she fits in, which is an experience I am familiar with. Other than that though, she’s married, with kids – I’m not a wife or a mother, and she is stuck in the middle of a family drama unlike anything I’ve personally experienced. But then I took a workshop to Unlock the Story Within, with Alan Watt, and I learned we are a lot more alike then I thought. Continue reading
All different types came to Skylight last weekend to meet the human version of the sloth like creature from Allie Brosh’s website. The book had some readers drawing pictures of their own feelings for the author in return. Here are some tips from the crowd on how to wear YOUR hyperbole. Continue reading
Laura van den Berg and the Isle of Youth
At Studio X on Varick Street last night, FSG launched of Laura van den Berg’s new book, The Isle of Youth, about women (newlyweds, private eyes, magicians) mired in secrecy and deception. Continue reading
I reread the Nanowrimo Pep Talks today, archived in my email from the day I signed up to join in the challenge – to write 50,000 words in the month of November (an average of about 1700 words a day). Both Kate and I competed first drafts of our novels during Nanowrimo in years past and this year I’m using the month November to complete a rewrite, one day at a time. As I kick off the first day of National Novel Writing Month, along with thousands of other logging their progress at nanowrimo.org, I’m keeping these tips from the pros front and center to help me, as Rainbow Rowell says, to keep moving forward. Continue reading