How I Write - Noah Charney
How I Write Interview Series
Every Wednesday in The Daily Beast (12 million monthly readers), Noah interviews a different fellow writer about the writing life, tips and strategies, and personal quirks. This popular series features big best-sellers and up-and-comers, and is an ideal way for readers to get to know favorite authors better, and also for aspiring writers to learn tricks of the trade.

Featured writers include Jodi Picoult, David Eagleman, Chad Harbach, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Steve Berry, Karin Slaughter, Javier Sierra, Peter Watson, Antony Beevor, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Elena Gorokhova, Peter and Emma Straub, Lisa Sanders, Arthur Phillips, Sam Tanenhaus, Alain de Botton, Lev Grossman, Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Michelle Gagnon, Leah Hager Cohen, Stephen Greenblatt, George Pelecanos, John Banville, Justin Cronin, Emma Donoghue, Erik Larson, Khaled Hosseini, Susan Orlean, Gillian Flynn, Andre Aciman, Lisa Scottoline and Francine Serritella. Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, Oliver Sacks, Gary Shteyngart, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and Lisa Brown, Joshua Foer, Will Self, Ismail Kadare, Ben Yagoda, Karen Russell, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Gilbert, Daniel Woodrell, Nicholson Baker, Jonathan Lethem, Amy Tan, Ann Patchett, Pete Hamill, Wayne Koestenbaum, Nicholas Sparks, Richard Posner, Benjamin Percy, and more. To read all of the interviews, click here.

The series will be anthologized in a future book.

Want to Take the How I Write Questionnaire Yourself?

The How I Write interview series is inspired by 19th century Confession Books. These books were sold blank, aside from questions on each page that guests at dinner parties or weekend retreats would take turns answering, and then compare notes on their responses. The most famous Confession Book questionnaire was answered by Marcel Proust, when he was fourteen years old, and is the basis for the Proust Questionnaire in Vanity Fair, also used in Inside the Actor’s Studio. Noah’s questions are adapted from these traditional books to best suit writers.

Many readers and amateur writers have expressed interest in filling out the How I Write questionnaire themselves. You are welcome to do so. Below you’ll find the questions. You’re welcome to send Noah your responses. To read Noah’s responses to his own questionnaire, click on the Interviews link on this site.

The “How I Write” Questionnaire: Best-selling author Noah Charney interviews great writers about the writing life.
Most recent book:
Where did you grow up?
Where and what did you study?
Where do you live and why?
Describe your morning routine.
What is a distinctive habit or affectation of yours?
What is your favorite item of clothing?
Please recommend three books (not your own) to your readers.
Do you have a writer friend who helps and inspires you?
What is a place that inspires you?
Describe your routine when conceiving of a book and its plot, before the writing begins. Do you like to map out your books ahead of time, or just let it flow?
Some author-to-author advice: what has to happen on page one, and in chapter one, to make for a successful book that urges you to read on?
Describe your writing routine, including any unusual rituals associated with the writing process, if you have them.
Is there anything distinctive or unusual about your work space? Besides the obvious, what do you keep on your desk? What is the view from your favorite work space?
Describe your evening routine.
What is guaranteed to make you laugh?
What is guaranteed to make you cry?
Do you have any superstitions?
What is something you always carry with you?
If you could bring back to life one deceased person, who would it be and why?
What is your favorite snack?
What phrase do you over-use?
What is the story behind the publication of your first book?
Was there a specific moment when you felt you had “made it” as an author?
What do you need to have produced/completed in order to feel that you’ve had a productive writing day?
Tell us a funny story related to a book tour or book event.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
What would you like carved onto your tombstone?
Tell us something about yourself that is largely unknown and perhaps surprising.
What is your next project?
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