Noah Smith


1. What made you want to become a writer?

I was always really taken with the arts while I was growing up. I did community theater, visual arts, and played music. I ended up pursuing fine art at conservatory and then studied illustration briefly at college. Then I did the band thing and traveled and wrote and performed songs. I started to blend the visual art with music and I think I started to realize that the link between all these things was actually just a love of storytelling. I was using all these separate mediums to approach the same thing from different angles. So writing really seemed like a more stripped down way to get at something I’d always been interested in doing.

2. What is your genre or writing style and has it changed over time?

I don’t know that I really have a specific genre. I’ve mostly written odd character dramas, but I’m not opposed to putting them in fantastic or even science fiction settings. I think I’m always looking to make something new, which is challenging with the breadth of fiction that already exists. So I tend to tinker with different juxtapositions and put familiar ideas together in unfamiliar ways until something feels right. I want it to be surprising but not in a cheap way. Even the surprising moments need to feel earned.

3. What has helped you the most in the writing pursuit?

I think I’ve benefited most from relationships with other writers whether they are peers or mentors. I owe a lot to the different professors who’ve been both patient and supportive. It’s great to have people who can be critical and encouraging at the same time. It’s a balance that can be hard to find. So if you do discover that in another artist it’s important to return the favor and culture that relationship.

4. How would you describe your writing practice?

I usually try to block out a good amount of time, drink a lot of coffee, and binge write. It’s better if I have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish so having an outline helps. I tend to go to other places to work. It’s difficult in my apartment, so I go to coffee shops or dark and mostly empty bars. I like to have a little noise and movement around me but I’ll take headphones if I need to shut out the world.

5. What are you writing now?

I always juggle several projects. I’m getting ready to take a stab at a second draft of a feature, turning a pilot I wrote into a feature, working on an animated pilot, filming a web series, and wrestling with a couple novel and graphic novel ideas. Some of these involve talking animals, 24/7 masquerade parties, post apocalyptic black market vendors, and rednecks who steal the semen from a prize racehorse in the hopes of selling it to a competing breeder for big money.

6. Where can someone find out more about your work?

For silly jokes and observations, I’m on Twitter at: @begandchoose.

For some odd short stories:

And for pictures of my weird drawings and bizarre stuff I find at thrifts and estate sale: Noahmodern on Instagram.

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