Ep35 – Interview with Ryan North

Oliver has a fun, informative discussion with author Ryan North, whose new book “How to Take Over the World: Practical Schemes and Scientific Solutions for the Aspiring Supervillain” is now available for pre-order.

They discuss having one footnote for each day of the year, cramming more jokes in the margin to make a comic have more bang for your buck, experimenting with the limits of what a format can do, why they’re “choosable-path” adventures that he’s written, the benefits of working in a younger medium that isn’t fully explored, having unlockable characters in your book, white elephant books, publishing a book that may provide a guide to doing dangerous things, knowing when to stop doing research, when one chapter should be two, the cult of Scrivener (of which Oliver is a member), apps that help you focus when writing, working “in a distracted way”, Ryan’s method if integrating handwritten notes with his mostly digital process, knowing when a cool fact is usable in your work, the biosphere experiment, Jon Lomberg and the Voyager Golden Record, originality, how novel’s are fine THEY’RE FINE, how working in an unpopular medium can be a safety net, things to try for and try to avoid when writing a popular science book, The Core (2003), optimizing workflow as a writer, methods of learning which work best, wasted keystrokes, productivity, work/life balance, trying to separate your sense of self-worth from your work, social media, steak-umms and the bleakest thing Ryan has ever seen in his life, the best time to post about your parent’s death so as to increase the viral impact, “content”, how the work has to interest you, grindset, trying to appear cool & productive at all times, how Ryan doesn’t like to be conscious for more than six hours at a time, task-switching between a variety of projects, Lev Grossman on how forgiving fans can be of plot holes, how the concept of a “real author” is a fake idea, Ryan’s life philosophy re: fate and control over one’s life, Vonnegut, the core value of most characters in his work, how Ryan definitely isn’t DB Cooper, and there’s even a wee cameo by Ryan’s dog Noam Chompsky.

You can also see a couple of babies in an interview from 2008, which Oliver may have still been figuring out his interview style…(Part one, part two).

Please consider: Supporting us on Patreon and Buying Oliver’s Books!

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