January 15, 2008
Favorite Parts
send in your own








Allie of TX says: Ok so Be More Chill was amazing! i bought it yesterday afternoon and finished it the same night! Being a girl, I found it amusing to be able to find out what boys think. I also liked it when the squip made the boy stop masturbating because girls would be able to tell.








Amanda of WA says: your writing is so close to the actual teenage world it's inspirational. Every passage in this book is amazing and i find myself unable to pick just one.

OK-
now im gonna write like i talk.
this book basically overtook my life
i read it and now i make all my friends read it/ buy it.
i bought it and was fasinated//becasue it was funny to get an inside look at a males perspective of High School.








Emma of NY says: I have a habit of saying I fail at life. Failing at anything even a little, would be failing at life. My friend and I always tell each other (in jest, for the most part) that we fail at life. When Craig declared that he fails at life in It's Kind of a Funny Story, I screamed and immediately called my friend to tell her.
Failing at life,
Em








Jerry of CA says: I started
laughing my ass off when you explained the 'eff' word. HAHAHAHA "if
you
say the eff word youll be effed and yer book will never see the effin
light of day HAHAHAHA thats funny to me...i dont know why.








Steph of IL says: Running in the race with umbrella in his pants and all that other shit.
Ah, love.








Rachel of IL says: My favorite part was totally when you got that award for writing the
short story! It was ridiculously funny, especially with the whole fruit
punch thing...








John of Ontario, Canada says: The part where Craig begins to draw maps again. The realization that he needs to do what he loves, and not what he thinks will make him be 'successful' in making a life for himself. It defenitely speaks volumes to the prospect of being stuck in some cubicle for life simply because the benefits are good.
John's blog
John's myspace








Jordan of AL says: Oh my gosh, Mr. Vizzini, I finished the book It's Kind of a Funny story in school today while we were watching a movie. I don't know what the movie was because I was reading, and thank goodness I was reading, because I finished this book and fell completely in love with it. The way that the character Craig Gilner is portrayed changed my perspective on so many things, and I enjoyed that it was from a guy's point of view. This book was touching and made me appreciate daily things alot more, seeing that I am way better off than I could be. Thank you so much for the messages you gave me in this book; it's truly a work of art. :]








Kacie of -- Choose One -- says: Be More Chill was FANTASTIC. I picked it up from my library on Friday after school and finished reading it Saturday before breakfast. I thought it was a very accurate account of high school, i mean minus the squip. My favorite part was just picturing Keanu Reeves' voice in my head giving me advice because I can only ever picture him in "Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Adventure" where he sounds like a complete baffoon.








april. of CA says: I have finished this story about 4 minutes ago. I shall tell you this, Mr. Vizzini. You have portrayed youth in such an inspiring way, I wish I could re-do it. At the end of this story, you'd expect a downfall, a collapse. Finally a suicide, if you will. But, this character is altogether happy. He has found his paradise...everything is his anchor. Tentacles will no longer live inside him. He's become aware of life, not hiding from it. Congrats to you for finally giving happiness to a story that would usually have you feeling sorry for a character. Craig is no emo child.
Peace.








Ola of IL says: I just finished Be More Chill and I swear it's one of the best books I ever. I'm totally gonna recommend it to all my friends. My favorite part of is when Jenna is talking about the sexual exploits of this Elizabeth girl for like, the trillionth time, and Jeremy tells her to shut up because they all know "Elizabeth" is like Jenna's Spider-Slut alterego or something. That really made me laugh out loud. It was about TIME Jeremy told that bitch off.








Rachel of FL says: My grandma bought me this book for my birthday and I thought it was absolutely fantastic. I saved it till school started (8-14-06) and i read it all week the first week of school. Instead of paying attention in class i read ur book instead. Sad I know but it was so good i couldn't put it down. Your book has my friends grasping for it but I don't know what i would do if i lost it. This book was great! oh yeah, favorite part. hmm thats a toughie. It would have to be the part wherehe goes to the party and takes ecstacy and the spuip speaks spanish to him. that is absolutely hilarious. anyway great novels IKOAFS was great to. we read that one in my class last year for an asignment and that was my favorite assignment all year! ~*~Rachel
Rachel's myspace








Jack of CA says: my favorite part of BE MORE CHILL is when he stops in the middle of the play and tells Christine about his affection towards her. I was so pissed cuz it was so stupid for him to listen to the squip and think that Christine would some how fall in love with him.








Brandon of CA says: i have two favorite parts in the book but heres one of them. When jeremy first gets the squip and the squip is teaching him about proper posture. and then jeremy says to the squip "i feel gay" and the squip says "the gayer it feels the better".
Brandon's myspace








Jonathan of AR says: I just finished reading your latest one, that was hilarious, favorite part: near the end where Craig was making out with Noelle and he says " it really does feel like a cheek" between that and some of the beginning: wonderful . And Be More Chill, gotta love the parties and when he first gets the pill, and let me see, Teen Angst? Naaah... I loved the prom part, the parts of it when you talk about your family and stuff.








Want to send in your favorite part?
 
Ned Vizzini | Readers
FAQ - Last updated 1/1/08









0. Guide

1-5 are general questions
6 - 13 => It's Kind of a Funny Story
14 - 21 => Be More Chill
22 - 30 => Teen Angst? Naaah...
31 - 33 are writing questions
 

1. Who are you?

Please see the bio on the front page.
 

2. Can you give me more info?


  • I was born 04/04/1981.

  • I was born in Manhattan, right near 53rd St. & 3rd Ave., like the Ramones song.

  • I grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which was not the official home of Brooklyn writers at that time (1988-1999).

  • My hobbies are reading, writing, cleaning, keeping up with my online responsibilities and making mistakes.

  • I'm engaged to be married; I got engaged October 2007.

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

  • I went to Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan (1995-1999).

  • In 1996, I started writing for New York Press, a local alternative paper. I wrote stories for them about my high school experiences that they printed every month or so.

  • In 1998 I wrote something for the New York Times Magazine.

  • That essay caught the eye of Free Spirit Publishing in Minnesota. In 2000, they put out my first book Teen Angst? Naaah..., a collection of stories from New York Press with some new ones added in.

  • In 2000 I had my first speaking engagement at a high school in New York City. Since then, I have spoken at high schools, colleges, and symposiums about writing, gifted education and, later, mental health.

  • In 2002, Random House bought the mass-market rights to Teen Angst and put out a the mass-market paperback edition.

  • I entered Hunter College in Manhattan in 2000 and graduated in 2003 with a computer science degree and an English minor, honors, Phi Beta Kappa.

  • While in college, I wrote my second book and first novel, Be More Chill.

  • I first explored the idea of the book with a short story about a man who gets a radio installed in his shoe to tell him how to be cool all the time. I wrote this story for a class; the instructor was the writer Regina McBride.

  • In 2003 BMC was sold to Hyperion/Miramax books.

  • In 2004 the Be More Chill hardcover edition was published.

  • 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 unit at Methodist Hospital, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

  • In late 2004/early 2005 I wrote a book based on my hospital experience called It's Kind of a Funny Story. This was convenient, because the pressure that got me into the hospital in the first place was the pressure to write a follow-up to Be More Chill.

  • IKOAFS was released in spring 2006 in hardcover.

  • IKOAFS was released in spring 2007 in paperback and we had a great party in downtown Manhattan that I'll remember for the rest of my life--friends, colleagues, and the girlfriend who later became my fiancee.

  • The jobs that I have had that I can remember include:

    1. dirt-bagger at a plant store

    2. apprentice house painter

    3. all-purpose gofer at my parents' company

    4. ColdFusion programmer for an internet startup

    5. founder of a internet firm that resists simple description

    6. 9-5er at Computer Associates (more specifically, the Computer Associates headquarters in Islandia, Long Island, which bears a striking resemblance to the psych unit at Methodist )

    7. bike messenger

    8. food service


  • I try to read a book a week like Stephen King. I never manage to, but it's a good goal. Recently I have read Underworld by Don DeLillo and The Travels of Marco Polo.

  • I am currently working on a new novel. At this point my resume is too screwed up in everything else for me to be anything else.

 

3. How can I reach you by mail?

Ned Vizzini
PO Box 459
NY, NY 10276
 

4. Can you sign my book?

Yes. PLEASE FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY:


  1. Take the book.

  2. Put it in a blank envelope. DO NOT SEAL THIS ENVELOPE.

  3. Write your address on the envelope as if you were sending the book to yourself. For the return address, write:
    Ned Vizzini
    PO Box 459
    New York, NY 10276

  4. Weigh this envelope and put on it as many stamps as it needs to travel across the US. (If you're from outside the US, email me.) DO NOT SEAL THE ENVELOPE.

  5. Take the book out of the envelope.

  6. Fold that envelope up and put it and the book in ANOTHER envelope. This envelope should have the same number of stamps plus one.

  7. Send that envelope to:
    Ned Vizzini
    PO Box 459
    New York, NY 10276



This is called sending a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) and it is a dying art. But it's the only way I can sign books because I can't pay for shipping.
 

5. 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 subject to change w/o notice.
 

6. IKOAFS: Are they making an It's Kind of a Funny Story movie?

Paramount has optioned IKOAFS for a feature film. The script is being developed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, who wrote and directed the 2006 film Half Nelson with Ryan Gosling. No financing or release date yet.
 

7. IKOAFS: How much of It's Kind of a Funny Story is true?

IKOAFS is 85% true. What I did was:


  1. change the names of the characters

  2. change the age of Craig, who is 15 when he goes into the hospital (I was 23)

  3. add the love triangle

 

8. IKOAFS: How does Craig get better so quickly in IKOAFS?

This is everyone's chief criticism of It's Kind of A Funny Story; they feel that the ending is too tidy and that nobody beats depression that quickly and "gets better."

My argument is that Craig didn't get "better" as in "better--his depression is cured." He got better as in "better--I'm not going to consider suicide again."

The point of the end of the book is that Craig now has a will to live. He didn't have that at the beginning.

As to why he changed, that's up for you to judge.
 

9. IKOAFS: Are the characters in the hospital in IKOAFS real?

Yes, they were based on real people. In some cases I changed races around, or combined two people into one character.
 

10. IKOAFS: Did you really want to kill yourself?

Absolutely.
 

11. IKOAFS: Are you better now?

Yes, lots.
 

12. IKOAFS: What made you better?


  • 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 is making things a lot better for me.

  • I realized that I can't kill myself for three reasons:

    1. my mom

    2. I wrote a book about triumphing over suicide, so if I killed myself, that would be pretty bad for the readers

    3. I have this money from my books in a retirement account that I can't withdrawal from until I'm 59 1/2--I do not want to lose this money!



 

13. IKOAFS: Did it really take you like a month to write IKOAFS, as it says in the back of the book?

Yes.
 

14. BMC: Is there going to be a Be More Chill movie?

Be More Chill is currently in development with Depth of Field productions, who are bringing Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist to the screen in 2008. I have co-written a BMC script that we're working with. No financing or release date yet.
 

15. BMC: Where did you get the idea for the squip?

I saw so many products being advertised around me, and all they did, basically, was promise to make you cooler in some way. So I thought, "What if we just made it the ultimate? What if there were just a pill that made you cool?"

Also, there is a band called Drunk Horse that has a song called "AM/FM Shoes" about a guy who feels like a loser, except when he puts his special AM/FM shoes on and they play his radio right into his brain. That helped give me the idea too.
 

16. BMC: What is/was the "Squip Campaign"?

When BMC came out, we ran a fairly insane publicity campaign where we invented a whole universe of websites that made it seem as if the squip were real.

The websites, which included squippersagainstsquips.com and iwanttobecool.com, were coupled with "Squip? Google It" stickers that we gave away. Readers put these stickers up and took pictures of them to add to the sites and tell their stories of being "squipped" and "squipless."

The squip campaign ran into some problems:


  1. people criticized us for exploiting kids, because in many cases the people signing up for squips on websites thought they were real

  2. managing the "Squip? Google It" t-shirts and stickers and the large amount of email proved very difficult

  3. we didn't really understand the government COPPA laws when we launched, and so we misstepped, missing the chance to get thousands of people on board with the campaign because we couldn't legally ask for their email addresses

  4. I got very depressed (this was the summer before I went into the hospital)



For those reasons, and maybe more, the squip campaign never quite "tipped" into the phenomenon we hoped it would be and closed in 2005.

However, it had some positive results:


  • we were featured in this New York Times article


  • we compiled this great video of the campaign highlights, with many of the early adopters and loyal squippers

  • on the message boards, the highest-posting members have the status of "Squip Sherrif" (we gave out Squip Sherrif pins at one point)


 

17. BMC: Is the squip real? Is Jeremy Heere a real person?

No, and no. Both of these conceits were part of the "Squip? Google It" campaign (see above).

But there's no question in my mind that we'll have squip technology some day.
 

18. BMC: At the end of Be More Chill, do Christine and Jeremy hook up?

The open ending of the book is tough for many people. I left it open-ended for a reason, to keep you thinking, and to not have an obvious ending.

But in my mind, yes, they hook up. I hope they do.

They don't necessarily stay together, though.
 

19. BMC: Is there going to be a Be More Chill sequel?

No.
 

20. BMC: How much of Be More Chill is based on your real life?

65%. The infected nipple-ring incident happened to me.
 

21. BMC: How long did it take to write Be More Chill?

9 months and 9 days. I finished Nov. 6, 2002.
 

22. TA?N: Are you still with Judith from Teen Angst? Naaah...?

No.
 

23. TA?N: Teen Angst? Naaah... comes in two editions -- a black one and a yellow one. What is the difference between the two editions?

Black one (guy with a box on his head)

  • published by Random House

  • mass-market paperback

  • published in 2002

  • footnotes are on the bottom of each page

  • some dates are removed from the stories to make sure they age well



Yellow one

  • original version

  • published by Free Spirit Publishing

  • published in 2000

  • trade paperback

  • larger

  • footnotes on the sides of the pages

  • no longer in print

  • many library-bound versions are floating around

 

24. TA?N: Is there going to be a Teen Angst? Naaah... movie/TV show?

Not presently.
 

25. TA?N: Did you ever meet the girl who kicked your backpack down the stairs? Did she read the book?

No, and I have no idea.
 

26. TA?N: Can I have a Wormwhole demo?

No need to ask. Both Wormwhole songs are available for download:

 

27. TA?N: Did you do the pictures in Teen Angst?

No, the cartoons were done by a Christopher Schons, who now does Big Rig Comics.
 

28. TA?N: Can I get Uncle Tumba?

Not now, but I'll put them up as giveaways someday.
 

29. TA?N: Can I see Attack of the Killer Turtle?

My cousin apparently has it and is transferring to DVD! We'll see how that develops.
 

30. TA?N: What ever happened to the band "Shrivel" in Teen Angst?

Chris Maher, the lead singer of "Shrivel" (real band name: "Out of Whack") is now a successful singer-songwriter with his own record label: Recommednded If You Like Records.
 

31. Can you publish my book/story/comic?

No, but I can give you advice.
 

32. How can I be a better writer?

The number one thing that beginning writers mess up with is writing things that are interesting only to them, not their readers.

So take this advice. It's not mine, it's William Faulkner's: kill your darlings.

I think you understand what it means.
 

33. How can I start writing professionally?

Here comes some ridiculously lengthy advice.


  1. Don't try to write a book.
    Many people want to start writing by writing a book. Not a good idea. 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. Start small.

  2. Figure out your market.
    Who are you trying to write for? Are you trying to write stories about gardening to help people garden better? Or stories about vampires for people who need an introduction to vampires? It doesn't matter, so long as you know.

  3. Know the potential of your market.
    Once you know the kind of writing you want to do, check it out below:
    • Poetry
      There's not really a market for poetry outside of academia. Poetry books sell very little and poems appear in magazines rarely. If you want to be a poet, you have to stay in school indefinitely, writing your poetry while teaching poetry classes at a university. It's not a bad life by any means. Just know that's what you're getting into. You have to LOVE books. Unless... you want to risk it and try to be a kick-ass non-academic dangerous rock-star poet like Poe or Bukowski. In that case you shouldn't even be reading this; you should be out causing trouble.

    • Funny Little Stories
      Times have changed. If you're reading this, then maybe you know that this is how I got started: by sending my funny stories to a local newspaper. Unfortunately, that doesn't work any more. Now, if you want to write funny, observant, witty, biting stories about your life, you have to put them on a blog--no one will pay for them. Therefore you have to be a blogger and figure out how to make money off of the ads. People do it. No reason you can't. Here is the breakdown: stevepavlina.com.

    • Magazine Stuff
      Here, I don't just mean journalism. I mean everything from investigative war coverage to the captions under the items in Maxim. They all appear in magazines, and magazines are still alive. If you want to write for them, check it out: at the front of every newspaper and magazine (sometimes on page 2 or 3) is something called a masthead.

      The masthead lists the names and occupations of all the writers and 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. Send your articles and essays again and again and again.

      Be specialized. 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.

    • Novels
      Now, if you want to tackle the big fish and write books, first, like we said, start small. Start with stories, personal essays, a seriously updated blog that you treat like a job. Once you've gotten yourself to the point where you think you have the discipline to write a novel, you have two choices:

      1. Go and get a degree in creative writing after college.

      2. Get a job and experience "real life" and try to write based on that.


      The purpose of #1 is to, after you're done with school, have an agent. And a book. Then the agent can try and sell your book. However, an MFA costs--you know what, by the time I write it, the cost will have gone up, so I'll just say it's "market price." Even if you get an agent and sell a book, you might be in the red. (However, you can teach creative writing courses and workshops, which brings in some money.)

      With #2, you're going to have to do it yourself. You won't be taken seriously by any of the #1 people until you get something published. Get a copy of THIS BOOK:

      Writer's Market 2008



      It's like the yellow pages for writers. It'll list every agent and publisher you can imagine. This year's edition even has a section for greeting cards--someone has to write those too.

      So if you're with option #2, you need to finish your book (FINISH it, don't write 2/3) and then look in Writer's Market for an agent who will be interested in it (say, the guy who specializes in mermaid romance tales). Send him the manuscript, properly formatted, with a nice cover letter, and do that over and over and over again until you hear something back.

      People who go through #1 should have an easier time of this--their years in graduate school should have given them the connections to get an agent. (By the way, an agent is optional for independent publishers but necessary for major publishers.)

      Ultimately, what's better, #1 or #2? I say #2. You meet stranger people.



  4. Make a database of everyone you know in publishing and watch it grow.
    You probably know someone, somehow, who is connected with the writing world. So start a database or a spreadsheet and put in their information: name, position, when you last talked to them, what happened the last time you talked to them... Ask them if they know anyone else in the writing world--editors, freelance journalists, people who put out small poetry chapbooks--and get their asses into the chart.

    At all stages of the game, be honest. Don't pretend that you're not trying to get a leg up on things when you talk to a person who can help you. Tell them: "I wrote this article that I really want to get published, can you help me?" And just keep watching that chart grow.



  5. Finally, if you're in high school, check out the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. These are the folks who do the Scholastic Writing Awards. They are dedicated to and serious about helping young writers.

    WRITE IT program (<-- go here first)

    application for the Scholastic Writing Awards 2008

    rules for the application process

 

34. Who were your influences?

In rough chronological order, up until I was 19:


  • Judy Blume

  • C.S. Lewis

  • Gary Paulsen

  • George Orwell

  • Michael Crichton

  • Guy Kawasaki (when he wrote for MacWorld, not this new, "Rich Dad Poor Dad" incarnation)

  • Mike Lupica

  • Chris Rock

  • Jim Knipfel

  • Jonathan Ames

  • Amy Sohn

  • R.A. Salvatore

  • Jerry Stahl

  • George Tabb

  • Lord of the Rings

  • Frank Miller (specifically, The Fall of the Kingpin)

  • Garth Ennis

  • NOT Sandman--hated it



Nowadays I take my inspiration from contemporary novelists mostly.
 

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 hard to write about real people--they get offended. The best way to deal with that is to write fiction and change the people up a little bit.

My friends who have read my books are split--some are happy to see themselves in a character, some feel betrayed.
 

37. Are you on MySpace? Facebook? AIM? Yahoo Messenger? etc.

No.

However, It's Kind of A Funny Story has a myspace: http://myspace.com/ikoafs
 

38. What countries are your books available in?

As of this writing:


  • It's Kind of A Funny Story

    • Italy

    • Holland

    • Germany

    • China



  • Be More Chill

    • Germany

    • France

    • Israel

    • Indonesia (not sure where exactly, definitely the Philippines)

    • China

    • Italy

    • Holland



  • All books should be available in US/Canada.

    If you are in a country that is supposed to have one of the books but you cannot find it, please email me! You'd really be helping out. Thanks.
 
© Ned Vizzini 2000-2008
SPEAKING INFORMATION
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!