This is for the writers.
Write something that doesn’t suck.
It’s a simple goal. A low stakes goal. You have nothing to lose.
Amy Koppelman wrote “I Smile Back,” with low stakes. All she had to do was make it not suck. That’s what Sarah Silverman told her.
Now, Silverman is starring in the movie as the main character. She’s Laney.
Amy’s books do more than just not suck. They’re emotional and honest. Publishers told her it resembled the truth too much. One publisher said, “This is the reason we got into publishing, but I can’t sell this.”
It was rejected at least 80 times. Now look at her success.
The book bleeds. I was scared reading it. I was scared for Laney.
You feel sorry for her, but sometimes you have to feel sorry for someone else to stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Good fiction can do that. It can give you an escape.
They tell you you can’t run away from yourself. But they lie all the time.
Amy wrote while she was depressed—she needed an escape. This escape led to more than just a healthier life, it led to a beautiful book.
In today’s interview, Amy reveals how you can write great fiction.
She tells me the best kind of writing understands you somehow without even knowing you.
It helps you understand yourself better. “All of us, whether we’re writers, carpenters or teachers, we just want to be heard and understood,” Amy says.
Whatever you’re doing now, you don’t know what it’s doing for your future. That’s why I recommend a daily practice.
Amy didn’t have a daily practice. She used to sit and wonder if she could ever make coffee again.
Depression made instant coffee look impossible. Everything loomed over her. But one day she made coffee. And over the course of many small victories, she survived.
Listen to Amy Koppelman to learn how to write to survive.
I mean it, listen to Amy, she is the master of fiction that bleeds.
Resources and Links:
- Amy Koppelman’s Website
- Hesitation Wounds by Amy Koppelman
- I Smile Back by Amy Koppelman (soon to be I Smile back the movie starring Sarah Silverman. Watch the trailer here)
- A Mouthful of Air by Amy Koppelman
- Listen to my good friend, Brian Koppelman interview Amy Koppelman on his podcast The Moment with Brian Koppelman
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, Revised and Expanded Edition by Walter Kauffman
- The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
- Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger