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Ransom Riggs

Alumnus 1994-96

Randy Riggs attended the Workshop in fiction, songwriting, and playwriting from 1994-96.

Where are you living and what brought you there?

I’m living in Los Angeles. I came out here to go to grad film school ten years ago, and stuck around!

Where are you working and what do you enjoy about it?

I’m a novelist and a screenwriter, so I work for myself. I could probably fill a whole book with what I enjoy about being a writer. Suffice to say that, whatever it is, I enjoyed it back when I was a camper at YWW, too, and still do!

What do you find yourself most often reading/listening to lately and why?

A lot of non-fiction, because I’m writing something that takes place in the past and I want to give it a realistic texture, and also quite a bit of young adult lit, because apparently I am a young adult writer now – that’s where barnes and noble decided to shelve my first novel, and thus I became a YA writer – but luckily I like the genre a lot, and the other YA writers I’ve met are all absolutely charming, intelligent, and unpretentious people.

What are you working on right now and what does it represent in the larger body of your artistic accomplishments?

I’m working on the sequel to my first novel. It’s a little scary, because there were no expectations on me for the first novel, but it was a hit, and now there are lots of expectations … so the pressure’s on!

What are your publications, performances, albums, and/or achievements that seem most important to you at this point in time?

That first novel – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – changed my life. I was pursuing a career as a screenwriter and a filmmaker, and having a little success, but the novel has done really well and now, almost accidentally, I find myself a novelist. I also published a nonfiction book a few years ago called The Sherlock Holmes Handbook, and I have a book of found photography coming out in the fall called Talking Pictures.

How would you characterize the influence of your YWW experience in your life?

Fairly huge. Aside from meeting some lifelong friends there, it made me feel like less of a weirdo for being a writer by putting me in close proximity to so many other creative, interesting people who wanted to do the same thing I did. It made having a career as a writer seem possible.

What’s the best advice you can give a Young Writer (in general or in your specific genre)?

Write every day. Show your work to other people and take criticism gracefully. Don’t worry about getting published yet. Don’t worry about whether your writing sucks; everyone worries about that, even professionals. It will get better!