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EXCLUSIVE: Author of “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl” Talks Creative Writing


EXCLUSIVE: Author of “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl” Talks Creative Writing

Exclusive Q&A With Jesse Andrews

Author Jesse Andrews talked to YSBnow exclusively about becoming a professional author and his advice for aspiring young writers. Creative writing is such an important part of the entertainment industry, literally nothing would get done without it, yet so few interviews are done with the minds behind the stories. We were lucky enough to ask Jesse Andrews, author of Me And Earl And The Dying Girl a few questions about what it’s like to write a book and a screenplay. You can also check out the movie Me And Earl And The Dying Girl on DVD, Digital HD, and Blu-Ray today! Then get started writing your own screenplay!

Where did the inspiration for Me Earl and The Dying Girl come from?
I just wanted to make something that was funny but not weightless or meaningless—ideally something about something not funny at all. My grandfather was very sick when I was writing the book, and so the way we behave around the seriously ill was on my mind. But this is not the story of anything that happened to me in high school, or anyone I knew.

What is special about these characters?
You tell me! They feel special to me but that’s really for viewers and readers to decide. But I think if they’ve succeeded in being distinctive and interesting then it’s through naturalism—my hope is that they feel real in ways that you’re not used to encountering in a book or a movie. What’s inarguably special is their sock puppet humor. I think the movie represented a major advance in the art of sock puppetry.

For a young writer, what are your best tips for working on your craft and improving?
The most important thing is just to stay with it and get comfortable with the fact that you’ll need to produce some (maybe a lot of) very flawed work before you start making work that you want to represent you as a writer. Just because you wrote something bad doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. The bad writers are just the ones who don’t learn from their own bad writing.

When did you start writing?
I started writing seriously just after college—I didn’t take any creative writing courses, though.

How do you feel about writing a book vs. writing a screenplay?
They’re very different! In an energizing way. I like them both for different reasons. The great thing about writing books is the dizzying freedom that you have. What you type is what the reader sees, and there’s nothing else between you two. But screenplays are great because they can be so collaborative. The screenwriter is really just fashioning tools for other artists to use: the director, the actors, the cinematographer and production designer and costume designer and everyone. Also screenplays are way fewer words per page, which makes you feel two or three times more productive than you actually are.

What is it like to see your words and ideas and story on the big screen?
I can’t describe it. It’s incredible. It’s a waking dream—seeing and hearing people that you thought existed only abstractly, in your weird little brain. And realizing they’re fuller and more interesting than you had ever imagined, because now it’s other people doing the imagining too.

You can follow Jesse Andrews on Twitter at

Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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