10 Things I Learned from Junot Diaz:

1. “Unless it’s breaking you, why would anyone else care?”

2. Give readers a chance to interact with the work – don’t chew it up and put it in their mouths. Let them come to different conclusions. Give them choices to let them decide what to think. 

3. Writers cannot be “in cahoots” with the story – safeguard a space for the reader in the story. The story shouldn’t be dictated by the author.

4. Memory is contained and not dangerous. Memory work disrupts the immersion of the story because the character is not immersed in remembering

5. 1st POV should not try to discharge the function of 3rd POV

6. Withholding information is not developing character or plot. Non-information creates disinterest.

7. With characters, take away the one thing you think is important and see what you have left. Allow them to interact with others to let the reader see who they really are. Scaling with at least 2 others allows you to triangulate.

8. We look away to spare ourselves from feeling the pain and hope the reader will do the work for us. By taking the reader into our pain, we can be seen.

9. Always Be Building Character

10. Tend to your wound. Integrate it and write from there. Balance the person and the artist. Tend to your personhood so that if you never write again, you’ll still love yourself.


– A Midsummer Night's Dream –

– Mysterious Galaxy –

– DJ Reads Books IG live –

– Scrivener –

– Storyist –

– Patricia C. Wrede Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions –

– Holly Black on Magic Systems –

– VONA/Voices writers workshop –

– Junot Diaz –

– Hurston Wright Foundation –

– Dolen Perkins-Valdez –

– Writers mentioned: Kacen Callender, Ines Johnson, Shanae Johnson, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Daniel Jose Older, Lesley Nneka Arimah 

Music Credit
Music credit:
Say Good Night by Joakim Karud
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