December 8, 2007
Favorite Parts
send in your own

Alexis of VA says: I was in the Barnes and Noble in Richmond, Virginia the day you came to sign books. However, I was there about four hours too early. There was a massive display of your work and I picked this book up and bought it. It looked like an interesting, funny book of things that had actually happened to you. I did want to read it in four hours and come back and ask you all kinds of questions, but that didn't work out too well. I love the book so far. I'm only about a third of the way done but it has made me laugh out loud more than a few times. I'm going to look forward to finishing it but at the same time, not. This book has me reading it every free time I have and I love your writing style. So this is a thank you and a praise all in one. Come back to the Richmond area soon if you can. Keep on truckin' too.
Alexis's blog
Alexis's myspace

Rowell of RI says: My favorite part of Be More Chill, is when Mr. Reyes speaks in his falsetto voice "Maaaaaa!", when I try to imagine it, I can't help laughing. This is my favorite book. No Doubt. Im going to try Jimmy Heere's squip moves on some of the ladies.. :) "Maaaa!"
Rowell's myspace

Violet of NY says: my favorite part of the book was... oh, let's see... THE WHOLE THING, aka my LIFE! I live in Park Slope, took the Stuy Test, attend Pure Energy Martial Arts (Tessa Gordon's still there), and have done numerous other things that you describe in Teen Angst?Naah...
Never have i identified more with a boook than with this one. I read books for escape, but it's like escaping right back into... you guessed it, My Life!

Kathleen of United Kingdom says: I didnt have a favorite part of this book, it was all amazing, i know that I am going to read this book over and over.
Kathleen's website

None"/ style="vertical-align: top; float: left;" hspace="10"> Matthew of New Zealand says: My favourite aspect of both Be More Chill and Teen Angst? Naaah is that the parents (particularly the dads) are portrayed as decent people who are even funny and understanding, rather than as the hysterical losers/ screw up parents that are so ubiquitous in books aimed at young adults.

Janine of CA says: I would say my favourite part would be the whole Aunt Linda
conversation. I mean, I can totally relate. My family acts the same
way. And its the plot revealer... where he's just really honest (...and kinda harsh) about how he sees himself. It's the point where the book
really takes a surrealist turn.

That's my two cents... and more.
Janine's blog
Janine's myspace

None"/ style="vertical-align: top; float: left;" hspace="10"> Robin of CA says: i liked the part when he was about to get laid but he messes up with the nipple ring and ruins it.

Colette of IL says: My favotire part in Be more Chill is when he hears the Squip laugh for the first time! And he's like, 'that's probably what schizos hear all the time..' I was showing that hilarious part to everyone!

Annie of CO says: Okay, the part I love the most [Teen Angst? Naaah...] is the chapter on Magic. I can relate!

Kerri Joe of SC says: [G] be more chill, the part where Jeremy almost scores with Chloe, but her boyfriend chases him around at the party and he is scared shitless, because he doesnt have the Squip or anything. So he can't turn Squip on because he is on drugs and all...that cracked me up.
Kerri Joe's myspace

Stephanie of The Philippines says: [I] think the best part [of Teen Angst? Naaah...]was trying to get to the school trip or do the thing where you get to play Christ....

EMMIE-O of PA says: My favorite part in 'Teen Angst? Naaah...' was when you had to be Jesus at church instead of going to Cancun. I feel for you. Once my mom was trying to force me to be Mary on Christmas Eve at church, and I sat down on the floor and screamed 'NOOOOOO!' while banging my fists on the ground. She decided that going through all that trouble to cast such a brat as Mary wasn't worth it. See? Ya gotta take a stand...The sad part was, though...I was 14 when this happened.

edwin of CA says: when you get home drunk

kelly of PA says: My favorite part in 'be more chill' would have to be the part where Jeremy goes on-line to look up 'squips' and he encounters a beanie baby site. Then his father interupts [as all parents do at crucial moments when you do not want to be bothered] and asks if he's gay. I seriously loved it. Then instead of getting back to looking for squip information he goes on a crazed search for expensive beanie babies he could possibly jack from his aunt. Oh man, I loved it!

Leigh of GA says: I couldn't decide. Though I must say, I loved the ending. Post-Squip was wonderful.

Want to send in your favorite part?
Ned Vizzini | Readers
Photos | FAQ | Giveaways | Music | Boards
One reader suggested that I link pictures of Stuyvesant High School since I went there. Good idea.
FAQ - Last updated 1/1/07

0. Can you publish my book/story/comic?
No, but I can give you advice. Scroll to the bottom of the FAQ for that.

1. Who are you?
Please see the bio on the front page.

2. I read that. Can you give me any more info?
I was born 04/04/1981.

I grew up in Brooklyn (and a little bit in Manhattan, until I was six) with both parents, a brother, a sister, and a Nintendo.

I have no hobbies besides reading, writing, maintining my online presence and making mistakes.

I have a degree in computer science that I got because I never thought writing would make me any money.

I started writing in 1996 for
New York Press, a local alternative paper. I wrote stories for them about my high school experiences--I went to Stuyvesant High school in Manhattan--that they printed every month or so. (I did NOT have a regular column; I was what you call a freelancer. But I did have a regular column years later that is archived in the writing section of the website.) In 1998 I wrote something for the New York Times Magazine. The essay I wrote got the attention of Free Spirit Publishing in Minnessota and they put out the first edition of my first book Teen Angst? Naaah..., which was a collection of some of the stories I wrote for New York Press (with some added in), in August 2000. After two years, Random House bought the mass-market rights to Teen Angst and put out the second edition--the one with the cover with a guy with a box on his head. (This is not me.)

I went to Hunter College in Manhattan from 2000 to 2003 and graduated with computer science bachelor's. I have worked several non-writing jobs since then including SQL programmer and bike messenger.

My second book
Be More Chill, which I wrote at college, was published June 2004 by Hyperion/Miramax Books.

Since 2000, I have spoken at schools about writing/humor/life and read extensively from my work in auditoriums and bars.

In the fall of 2004, suicidal with a lot of stress and depression that was later diagnosed and treated as manic depression, I spent a few days in the psych hospital and ended up writing a book based on this experience called
It's Kind of a Funny Story. That book came out in spring 2006 and has been the best-reviewed one so far.

At this point my resume is too screwed up for me to be anything other than a writer for the rest of my life.

3. How can I reach you by mail?
Ned Vizzini
PO Box 459
NY, NY 10276

4. Are they making a movie of [insert book here]?
The movie world is a very fickle place and this answer is always changing. Please scroll down for answers to this question about each individual book and note that the information posted is only true as of the date that it was posted! Thanks.

5. Can you sign my book?
Yes! Email me indicating that this is what you want and fill in your address info and we will take it from there. Alternately, send the book to the address above with ENOUGH POSTAGE FOR ME TO GET IT BACK TO YOU and I will sign and return it.

6. What countries are your books avialable in?
All of my books are available in the US, Canada, and the Philippines. Be More Chill is available in several other countires as well. It's Kind of a Funny Story is forthcoming in several countries. A complete list of editions is in the writing section of the website. If you are in a country that is supposed to have my book according to that section and YOU CAN'T FIND IT, please contact me (you are also welcome to do this anyway).

7. Are they making an It's Kind of a Funny Story movie?
Paramount has optioned IKOAFS for a feature film and the script is being written by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, who wrote the award-winning 2006 film Half Nelson. Definitely an honor to have them on board.

8. How much of It's Kind of a Funny Story is true?
IKOAFS is very tightly wound in with my real life and is 85% true. Essentially, all I changed were the names of the characters and the age of Craig, who is 15 when he goes into the hospital (I was 23).

9. How does Craig get better so quickly in IKOAFS?
He doesn't get better, he just realizes that suicide isn't an option. This happened to me, too, startlingly -- about a week after I left the hospital. I named this event, this change of heart, "The Shift," and wrote the book shortly after it happened to me.

10. Are the characters in the hospital in IKOAFS real?
Yes, to the letter they were based on real people, only one of whom I have seen since, and he was living in Bushwick and doing about the same as he always was.

11. Did you really want to kill yourself?

12. Are you better now?
Yes, lots.

13. What made you better?

  1. I started taking a drug for manic depression instead of depression. It turns out that a lot of people who are diagnosed with depression are actually manic-depressives with really short manic phases, and it looks like that was me. The stuff I'm on now has no discernible effect other than it makes me not want to kill myself.

  2. I sorted out a lot of crap in my life involving actually wanting to be a writer and casting aside a lot of other distractions and dalliances that I thought would provide a better life for me.

  3. I wrote a book.

14. Did it really take you like a month to write IKOAFS, as it says in the back of the book?
Yes, it a really intense time and I sweated a lot and then napped and sweated and wrote and napped and sweated.

15. Where did you get the idea for Be More Chill?
Teen consumerism, MTV, quantum computers, and death. Also a song called "AM/FM Shoes" by a band called Drunk Horse -- it's about a guy with shoes that make him feel cool. I wanted to take that idea to the limit.

16. Is there going to be a Be More Chill movie?
Still waiting on that one.

17. What is the squip?
The squip is a pill that makes you cool--it's something that I invented for Be More Chill. To promote the book and expand on it, I and my former business partner built a universe of websites that presented a world where the squip was real. Squips aren't real, but you can see the result of our "Squip? Google It" campaign here. The squip could be real, though; I know this from my studies in computer science. The technology is coming. Also, squip now has a wikipedia entry.

18. Who is Jeremy Heere?
Jeremy Heere is the main character Be More Chill. I used to have a number of websites dedicated to conceit that Jeremy was a real person and that the squip in Be More Chill was a real device. But not anymore. Jeremy is a fictional character. He and I are different. I invented him.

19. At the end of Be More Chill, do Christine and Jeremy hook up?
The open ending of the book is tough for many people. They want to know what happens. I left it open-ended for a reason, to keep you thinking, and not just because I was too lazy to write an ending. But in my mind, yes, they hook up. I hope they do. That's what's supposed to be implied. They don't necessarily stay together, though. Most hook-ups don't.

20. Is there going to be a Be More Chill sequel?
No, sorry!

21. How much of Be More Chill is based on your real life?
65%. The infected nipple-ring incident, in particular, really happened to me, with the first girl I ever kissed. Yep.

22. How long did it take to write Be More Chill?
9 months and 9 days, a normal human gestation period. I finished Nov. 6, 2002.

23. What happened to _[name here]_ in Teen Angst? Naaah...
Judith: I have not talked to her in 2150 days. We had a really bad breakup.
Dad: He still works hard, but doesn't come home as late as he used to. He smiles a lot and I like to see that. He's also developed into a fine singer and sings in a choir. He still drives like a maniac, as if he were Hamlet and all the other cars had plots against him.
Mom: Mom is very active in her local church and is doing her best to ensure that I never leave her ZIP code. She thought
Be More Chill had too much masturbation in it. She has taken care of me in some really bad times.
Daniel: My brother escaped death on Sept. 11th and is now in a college in a Southern state. I went and visited him and was shocked to find him actually working, reading
Paradise Lost. He is majoring in applied math. Smart kid.
Nora: In college. I don't know how I ended up related to such a competent, together young lady.
Owen (Russian friend): went to college, got in trouble with the FBI for hacking, managed to destroy the evidence (a hard drive, with a magnet) before they could catch him, escaped to Florida where he lived in a house full of Brazilian models and filmed them for an adult website. Last seen in New York drinking coffee.
Poppy (dominoes player): Gone. No one will talk about him in the old neighborhood. The whole East Village has, in fact, been taken over by NYU students who would only play dominos for the ironic value.
James (shy friend): Now a professional woodworker.
Ike (Mayan friend): went to college, lived in various apartments, got a job in night construction, which was perfect for his strength and vampirism, and then went to Japan and came back with a wife!
Carlo (overbearing paint employer): not seen. I have a feeling--I don't know why--that he's dead.

24. Teen Angst? Naaah... comes in two editions -- a yellow one and a black one. What is the difference between the two editions?
There aren't any significant differences. I removed a few dates from the Random House version to try and help it age better, plus the layouts are different becuase of the different sizes of the pages, but it's the same book!

25. Is there going to be a Teen Angst? Naaah... movie?
No, not right now. You can read about the TV/movie history of the book on the writing page.

26. Did you ever meet the girl who kicked your backpack down the stairs? Did she read the book?
Nope. I bet she never read the book. I bet she never even heard of it. I bet she has no idea...

27. Can I have a Wormwhole demo?
No need to ask. Both Wormwhole songs are available right here for download: Pants in the Mail, Lumber.

28. Did you do the pictures in Teen Angst?
No! The cartoon illustrations for Teen Angst were done by a very talented gentleman named Christopher Schons. He now does Big Rig Comics.

29. Can I get Uncle Tumba?
Not now, but I'll put them up as giveaways someday.

30. Can I see Attack of the Killer Turtle?
Unlike Wormwhole, sadly, Killer Turtle is gone forever.

31. What ever happened to that band Shrivel in Teen Angst?
The real name of the band Shrivel was Out Of Whack, and the main singer/guitar player/guy was Chris Maher. That band broke up but Maher is still making music. He has his own label now! recommended if you like records

32. How can I start writing? Professionally?
The key is, don't write a book. Especially if you're young, you're not going to have the discipline to follow through on a complete work of fiction, which has to be on your mind all the time for months. Also don't write poetry or short stories, unless you've got one really good short story--there's not much of a market for that. Cut your teeth writing for newspapers and magazines. The key here is this:

At the front of every newspaper and magazine in America (sometimes on page 2 or 3) is something called a masthead. The masthead lists the names and occupations of all the writers/artists/editors who work for the paper. At the bottom of the masthead is an address called the slush mail address. You will probably see it in tiny letters down there and really have to struggle to read it. This is the address that unknown writers can send their work to!

You know what? It's not like trying to be a model or a rock star. You don't have to sleep with anybody.

Newspapers/magazines need to run copy every month/week/day so they eventually read the slush mail because hey, if there's talent in there, they want to use it for copy. Think of all the little articles in
Time and Teen People and Tattoo. Someone has to write that crap.

Whatever you enjoy reading, you should send your writing to. If you like cars, send to
Road and Track. If you've got a crazy story about homeless people or music, look for a local alternative paper in your city (like New York Press, it'll come out every week and have listings for all the concerts/parties going on); you will, at least, get a response and get an idea how good your stuff is.

33. Do you have any writing advice? How can I be a better writer? etc.
It's not my advice, it's William Faulkner's (variously attributed to many other writers): kill your darlings. It means go into your writing and get rid of all the inside jokes / cutesy parts that are only interesting to you. What you'll be left with is writing that has the ability to effect other people. It's the toughest thing in the world to do, but that's what makes it good advice.

34. Who were your influences?
As a kid I got into reading through two primary people: George Orwell and Michael Crichton. For a long time and in many different places I have insisted that Crichton's Jurassic Park is the world' greatest book; now I'm starting to reconsider. Lately I have been reading a lot of contemporary literature like Cryptonomicon, Everything is Illuminated and Fortress of Solitude. Those three are all fantastic and between them, Orwell, Crichton, Stephen King, the Narnia books and anything by Jim Knipfel, Jonathan Ames, and Jerry Stahl you should have a fine working background in tight prose and bizarre humor.

35. Isn't it hard to write about your family and friends? Did your friends read the book? What did they think? etc.
It is very hard. Even though people's egos like to be fed by a print appearance, they don't take kindly to being comic relief for 1000s of readers. Many of my friends and family members did read Teen Angst; not all did, those who did were happy but not as happy as you might think. Some people have identified their own anecdotes in Be More Chill as well; they seem to be more okay with appearing in a work of fiction. This is a primary reason why I plan to work in the fiction realm from here on in.

36. What are you working on now?
I am working on a new novel and I've also become pretty serious about my blog.

37. Are you on AIM? MSN Messenger? Yahoo Messenger? etc.
I occasionally use AIM as "NedVizzini". Yes, my screen name is NedVizzini, straight up (I couldn't think of anything cool), if you see me don't ask me if I'm really me, or make fun of me for faking being me--no one would fake being me.

I got it from this song "AM/FM Shoes" by Drunk Horse. It's about a kid whose life sucks, but he has special sneaker that play the radio that make him a hit with all the girls.

That got me thinking--what if there really was a product that made you cool?

And... Isn't every product really like that?

Here is the song. (Doesn't seem to work in IE, sorry.)
The unarchived life is not worth living. Here is a complete collection of the music that I've made in my life.
Wormwhole (age 13) - "Pants In The Mail"
...In Teen Angst? Naaah..., I started a band called Wormwhole. People have emailed me asking for the Wormwhole demo, since in the book I said that first five people who contacted me about it would be allowed to buy it. Sadly, for years, Wormwhole was lost forever. We never really had a demo; we just had one tape that we recorded in my friend Ike's bedroom.

But then, one day, I was trying to make a mix tape on my stereo. I popped in an old tape to see if it was something I could tape over, and there was all this weird religious chanting music. Then, out of the blue, literally sent by divine intervention, was the Wormwhole tape! I don't know how it got into the middle of the tape, but my friend Marcus did a tape-to-mp3 and now, for free and forever, Wormwhole's two songs here. Above you're got "Pants In The Mail." "Lumber" is below.
Wormwhole (age 13) - "Lumber"
Ned Vizzini Solo (age 14) - "I Hate The Internet"
Me with an acoustic guitar. Kind of a stupid song, but sometimes I still agree with its sentiments.
Ned Vizzini Solo (age 14) - "Pop Song"
This one is just terrible. Cringe-inducing.
Ned Vizzini Solo (age 14) - "Rain Van"
The title is an anagram of "Nirvana." This song features a wind chime solo and is loosely based on Nirvana's "Misery Loves Company" (one of their unreleased 4-track songs).
Ned Vizzini Solo (age 14) - "Dollar To Live On"
Written about a time when I was really, really happy. This is all bass guitar and singing.
Ned Vizzini Solo (age 14) - "Potential"
Buswood (age 15-16) - "Cagador"
If you only listen to one song on here, make it this one! "Cagador" is a minute-plus improvisational punk jam on A. You can hear me yelling instructions to the group and at the end, Owen from Teen Angst says "This is for the people from Ecuador." "Cagador" is "shitter" in Spanish.
Buswood (age 15-16) - "The Office Song"
I wrote this when I was working at my parents' office. It summarized my nascent desire to have a structured, corporate life instead of an unstructured writing life. This is something that I still struggle with. My friend Jesse with whom I later formed The Just Because loves this one.
Buswood (age 15-16) - "My Heart Is Yearning" [NOFX]
Mangled NOFX cover. Owen from Teen Angst is singing.
Buswood (age 15-16) - "Spice Girls Song"
Oh man. This is probably the worst one up here (if I didn't say that already). This is loosely based on the Spice Girls' second single "Wannabe". Choice lyrics: "But now / I've got some stanky woosey woosey / I need more than a friend." I'm playing bass; Owen co-vocalizes.
The New Mexikans (age 18-20) - "Broken Eye"
After high school, I played bass in a heavy psychedelic rock band called The New Mexikans for three years. These were some of the best times of my life, although, of course, I didn't realize it at the time. Driving around to shows in Long Branch and Roselle Park, NJ, fishing stoned kids out of the back of the van, recording demos through the night in Funkadelic Studios... It was great. The band continues on as The Day The Earth Stood Still with resident guitar god Gabriel Marin still at the helm. The other players on this song and the one below are Brian Anwar (vocals) and Lou Miller (drums).
The New Mexikans (age 18-20) - "Kidicarus"
Pronounced "Kid Icarus." Based on the 8-bit Nintendo game (uhm, woot?). I always thought that the crunching together of the two words made this one impossible to understand--people kept thinking it was "KidiCARUS" or "Kikikrous" or something ridiculous. But it's a cool song. Nice solo in here. These New Mexikans songs are like, decently produced. They're not home demos like the stuff above.
Autobots [Rap / Hip-Hop] (age 21) - "It's Difficult"
Yes, I've tried rapping. I actually don't think I was that bad at it. The chorus to this one is "It's difficult / it's difficult living in a box." And I contend that it is. Production by Jory aka Dr. Mindbender.
Autobots [Rap / Hip-Hop] (age 21) - "Autobots"
My first rap. On this one I talk about having sex with aliens.
The Just Because (age 22) - "I Love Two Girls"
The Just Because were a punk rock band that I formed with my friend Jesse as we were finishing up college. I quit because I couldn't handle all the lugging equipment around -- and because I was freaking out about all sorts of other stuff in life. (See It's Kind of a Funny Story.) But if I were to start any band up again, this would be the one--I wish (like Jesse does) that we had better recordings than this.
The Just Because (age 22) - "Syntax Ass"
A silly little song about grammar.
The Just Because (age 22) - "The Office Song"
A redone "Office Song" (the earlier version is above).
The Just Because (age 22) - "Consumer Warfare"
"Whoa-oh-ohhhh / You don't have to pay money for things that suck." That's it! That's pretty much the whole song. I'm proud of this one.
The Just Because (age 22) - "Rent"
"My rent's getting higher / My pay's going down." Jesse wrote this and it's really sad and laid-back (funny that the two would go together).
The N Music Pitches (age 23) - [Pitch 2]
No title on this pitch.
The N Music Pitches (age 23) - "Sunnyland"
Ah... Sunnyland. Where everything is groovy all the time. I live there sometimes, you know. Very rarely.
© Ned Vizzini 2000-2007
Coping with and Overcoming Adolescent Depression: The Real Story
In Person
with the award-winning author of Its Kind of a Funny Story and Be More Chill

Ned speaking
Ned is represented by CreativeWell and is available to speak and conduct writing workshops. For booking information email jason@creativewell or call 800/743-9182.

Learn more at CreativeWell.

Ned has spoken at:
Yale, Florida Mental Health Community Centers, NYU Tisch, National Association for Gifted Children, National Council of Teachers of English, The Dalton School, Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, Michigan Library Association, and many others!