Curious to know what goes into building vibrant worlds? How about crafting bold characters? Or where to find inspiration for your stories by combing through your day-to-day? We discuss these topics in detail and explore even more with Naomi Novik!
Naomi is the Nebula-award winning author known for her novels Uprooted and Spinning Silver and her Temeraire Series. She is also a founder of the Organization for Transformative Works and the Archive of Our Own website.
In our conversation, Naomi shares her love for the Fandom Community and how it helped her discover her passion for technology and writing. We dive deep into how she weaves together computer programing and storytelling to create her art, how she tackles her writing process to help her worlds come alive, and she gives us an inside look into her research process for historical fiction. Naomi also shares her invaluable three cardinal rules for writing to help you improve your craft. And at the very end of our conversation, she chats about the exciting project she’s currently working on!
Books and resources:
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Star Trek: Next Generation created by Gene Roddenberry
Neverwinter Nights PC Game developed by BioWare
World of Warcraft developed by Blizzard Entertainment
Transformers Media Franchise created by Hasbro
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
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Check out these highlights:
- Naomi shares how she fell in love with storytelling and fanfiction at a young age (4:45)
- She tells us about her Polish roots and why she is so in love with Polish fairytales (6:35)
- We unpack her genius background in English Lit and Computer Science and how these two different backgrounds complement each other (13:35)
- How the fanfiction community helped her rediscover her love for science and math (15:40)
- She shares the experience of writing for the Neverwinter Nights computer game that led her to her novel writing career (20:30)
- Naomi demystifies computer programing and shares how it can help bring our stories to life (23:00)
- She gives us a peek into her dream project that intertwines coding and writing (28:10)
- Naomi’s 3 cardinal rules for improving your craft (51:50)
- A snapshot of Naomi’s next exciting project she is currently working on (1:02:25)
- And she answers a few of our very own listener questions:
- “How she approaches doing research for her books and how that process changed, or didn’t, for her Temeraire alternate history books versus your folktale books?” (35:35)
- “I would love to know how she goes about making the strange and new seem familiar especially in her Uprooted and Spinning Silver series. Does she have world building rules for herself?” (46:15)
“You have to just tell your story and let the reader find out things about the world as they need to know things about the world.”
“I’m trained to trust the reader and to believe that the reader will care about the stuff I care about.”
“Writing should be a joy; it should be making art that you’re making out of pleasure for yourself.”
“Make the art that makes you happy to make.”
“The process of helping other people problem solve in their stories will teach you how to problem solve in your own work as well.”
“Write a lot, finish a lot, and give and get feedback from a place of love for the work.”
Say “Hi” to Naomi Novik:
Learn more about “Spinning Silver”
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.
But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.
Naomi Novik once again creates a wonderfully rich, multilayered fantasy world that readers will want to return to again and again.