Interview: Dylan Brody, The Modern Depression Guidebook – The Process

Dylan Brody is an American story-teller, humorist and demolisher of concrete blocks. In 2012 he published The Modern Depression Guidebook; a satirical jab at the self-help genre and tongue-in-cheek analysis of one of the most significant, yet publicly under-discussed health issues of the 21st century, depression. By tongue-in-cheek, we don’t mean poke fun. Far from it. Dylan suffers from recurring depression and decided to address the condition the only way he knew how, by applying a little laughter.

In this, the second in a series of interviews marking the re-release of The Modern Depression Guidebook, we talk to Dylan about his creative process. Here he describes his writing routine, delivers tips, talks about the screenplay he’s been writing for the book, sheds light on the collaborative activity of co-writing and reveals the number one most important part of the book creation process that he believes every aspiring novelist should get right.

We’ll be publishing the third and final interview with Dylan, in which he talks about himself, very soon, but right now, enjoy the musings of one of America’s stand-out funny men and purveyor of fine words on his writing process.

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Dylan BrodyThe Process:

1. Do you have a regular writing routine? Can you describe it to us?

I really don’t have a regular writing routine. I write what needs to get done in whatever time I have. When I’m inspired – working on my own longer projects – I can write sixteen or eighteen hours a day, breaking for meals and naps. I lose track of time. When I’m working on something for a paycheck, I tend to work much the same way. In between long-form works, I come up with shorter stuff on a near-daily basis, a one-liner here, a poem there and so on. A news story will inspire a piece for Huffington Post or NPR and I’ll sit down to it, crank it out in an hour and then do a quick polish before submitting. There are a couple of story-telling rooms in Los Angeles that give me regular stage time so that sort of forces me to come up with something new each week whether I feel inspired or not. Continue reading

The Modern Depression Guidebook by Dylan Brody

Just (Re-) Published: The Modern Depression Guidebook

Dylan Brody’s The Modern Depression Guidebook is republished with a brand new cover

“Depression lies. It tells you that it is permanent and necessary and central to your creativity and individuality. But there is no circumstance or situation so tragic that it cannot hold within it a kernel of humour.” – Dylan Brody

The Modern Depression Guidebook is not a self-help book. In fact it’s the exact opposite. Parodying the genre, Dylan Brody, one of America’s foremost satirists and storytellers, writes about making the most of your depression, how to plunge the depths of your despair and the benefits of basking in the darkness of your self-loathing.

It should be said that this is not a book that pokes fun or looks to demean mental health issues. In fact Dylan himself suffers from recurrent depression. He saw writing the book as an opportunity to talk about mental health in a new, refreshing way.

Continue reading

Interview: Dylan Brody, The Modern Depression Guidebook – The Book

The internet, more precisely Wikipedia, tells us that Dylan Brody is a ‘U.S. humorist, playwright, author and comedian’. He’s won awards for his theatre work, appeared on TV comedy shows, written for Jay Leno and performed critically acclaimed stand-up across America. What Wikipedia doesn’t tell you though is that he has first-hand experience with depression. And, so the rather topical backdrop is set for Autharium’s latest re-release; the second edition of Dylan Brody’s The Modern Depression Guidebook.

First published in 2012,The Modern Depression Guidebook is the opposite of a self-help book; a daring parody of the genre. The book promises not to lend support and encourage you out of your depression but, instead, offers pointers on how to make the most of it. How to do it right. The idea, presumably being, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, that once we’ve hit rock bottom, the only way is up. Dylan has written a screenplay based on the book and is due to start a stand-up tour in September.

We understand that depression and mental health are at the forefront of the public consciousness at the moment. The tragic passing of the legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams as been the catalyst for increased debate on the subject. As such, to ensure there is no misunderstanding about Dylan’s position and motive Brody has written touching blog posts on Robin Williams’ death for The Huffington Post and has shared some personal thoughts on his own blog.

Friday 22 August sees the release of the second edition of The Modern Depression Guidebook. The re-issue comes with a brand new cover and a number of editorial tweaks within the book. To celebrate the new edition we sat Dylan down to talk about the book, his writing process and finally to find out about the writer himself.

In the first in the series of Q&As, Dylan reveals all about The Modern Depression Guidebook including: how the idea for the book was born and the challenge of melding humour and mental health; his view on whether comedy can lift those suffering with mental health issues; reflections on the book’s positive reception; Dylan’s feeling’s towards self-help literature; and, his musings on the therapeutic properties of writing a piece like The Modern Depression Guidebook as a sufferer himself.

Over the coming days we’ll be publishing the two remaining interviews in the series but for now, enjoy Dylan talking about The Modern Depression Guidebook; one of the most interesting books on one of the hottest public health topics.

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The Modern Depression Guidebook by Dylan BrodyThe Book:

1. How did the idea for The Modern Depression Guidebook come about and what made you merge humour with the issue of mental health?

I’ve been a sufferer of recurring depression since my youth. For a long time I romanticised my depression as being necessary to my creative process.  Similarly, I believed that my creative process was the only way to purge the depression. I genuinely hoped that by fully exploring the cycle of depression through the lens of humour I might cure myself. I was completely wrong, but I got a really fun book out of it. Continue reading

Greenhorn Novelist Blog: How I Write

Autharium’s Tuesday Takeover:

Autharium’s greenhorn novelist blog writer Nicole Nally returns for the fourth instalment of her regular column. For those not familiar with her contribution to the Tuesday Takeover, Nicole has been charting the complete creative process of writing a book from that daunting word count of zero. So far she has introduced herself and explained why she is writing for the Autharium blog, described her approach to worldbuilding and the process of writing her story; that story being one about sky pirate Kaya Rush and her quest to find the Oracle of Truth in order to save the man she loves.

In this week’s report from Nicole she elaborates further on how she writes: the evolution of characters and the futility of outlining the actors too much as they grow unexpectedly on the page; the stark differences between the content of the first draft and what will be the initial edit; blind touch typing and trance-like writing; the pros and cons to her very particular writing process; and, why she would recommend other budding authors to try it for themselves.

We hope you enjoy Nicole’s latest post for the Autharium blog and are able to take away just as much interesting information, tips, cheats and hacks as with her previous submissions. Don’t forget to check out the links at the end of the article to share your own insights on how you write and to follow Nicole on other social networks.

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How I Write

Calvin and Hobbs on writing

I have a very strange way of outlining and writing. I go very deep into my outlines, planning out each and every action of the story. I’m not one of those writers who like to keep things vague. I prefer to know what’s going to happen and how it happens even if the how isn’t included in the story. As a result my outlines usually end up being a very long lists of scenes. I don’t separate my outline into chapters, I prefer to do that during the editing process. Continue reading

Ripple effect

Dean Samways:

Books by John Needham

John Needham (blog), one of Autharium‘s most prolific pen men (or persons), has jumped on board a magical mystery blog tour. If you’re not familiar with the concept, blog tours are chains of interaction between writers who want to share their thoughts on the creative process. They do this by recommending other wordsmiths to join the tour. The idea is to make new and exciting writers easier to discover for book and blog readers alike.

Contributors are encouraged to write about their current projects, to discuss what makes them stand out from their peers in the genre, why they write and to reflect on their writing process, and as John pulls up a pew in the hot seat, this is exactly what he talks about, to revealing effect.

At the end of his article, John recommends fellow Autharium writers Chantelle Atkins (blog), Anthony Nobbs (blog) and Andy Ritchie (blog). We’ll share their posts in good time but for now, read John’s blog and leave a comment. Why not ask him how he got involved in the blog tour for your chance to garner more exposure. Enjoy!

Originally posted on John Needham:

A writer colleague, Debra Watkins, has persuaded me to climb aboard and participate in a writers’ blog tour. She’s written a blog about her writing life. In it she included references to other writers she knows, including me, with links to our websites, the theory being that new readers, intrigued, would visit them.

The scheme of the tour is that I (and the other mentioned) people) write about myself/ourselves and include brief details of others. Then, next time, those people in their turn write and mention still more. And so it goes on, hopefully ad infinitum, growing like Topsy, spreading outwards like an organism doing cell division, in a snowball or ripple effect, introducing writers, established or emerging, to one another.

So now it’s my turn to occupy the hot seat. I’ve had to be disgracefully self-regarding (but then I’m allowed to be, at my age) and write about myself…

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Antagonising Protagonists

In last week’s Tuesday Takeover, Sam King started a dialogue about creating believable characters in literature. This week, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side author Chantelle Atkins picks up where Sam left off, by discussing the idea of heroes and villains.

In Chantelle’s opinion, the way to create believable, fully-realised characters is to pepper them with imperfections, paint them grey and put words in their mouths that are plain language.

Read Chantelle’s character creation guidance and join the conversation about writing a wholesome cast of protagonists and antagonists by clicking the links at the end of this article.

Enjoy and leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

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Antagonising Protagonists

The cast of Trainspotting

It’s fair to say most good books have a protagonist; a main character the author hopes the reader will become involved with. However, not all stories have an antagonist, and you certainly don’t need to have both, but I do think having both can make things interesting. Here are my tips on how to create both believable protagonists and antagonists in your writing. Continue reading

Zainab Jagot Ahmed Cooks Live For BBC Radio

Dean Samways:

Zainab Jagot Ahmed and her daughterZainab Jagot Ahmed, Autharium’s Indian food specialist and recipe book writer, made her debut live cooking appearance yesterday. Cooking for BBC Radio Leicester’s Rupal Rajani, Zain rustled up Matter Panner (a dish made with peas and an Indian cheese) and Gajar Halwa (a dessert made with carrots), both favourites of the DJ.

We’ve shared Zainab’s blog about the day and her experiences below. You can also listen again to The Rupal Rajani Show featuring the SuperMeals super cook on BBC iPlayer.  Zain appears at 1:07:30.

As well as prepping and cooking, Zainab talks about her inspirations both for cooking the book, her passion for tasty, nutritional food and the secret healing powers of so-called super spices,

Zainab’s first recipe book, Indian SuperMeals – Baby & Toddler Cookbook is available to buy from Autharium. Her second, Yummy Indian SuperMeals for Kids – Mini-Taster Edition can also be downloaded from Autharium.

Zain also has a new book coming out later in September. Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddles and the family is available to pre-order in hardback now from Amazon now. The ebook will be available to purchase from Autharium when both formats are released on September 8 2014.

If you’re feeling inspired by Zainab’s efforts on BBC Radio Leicester, the recipes for her healthy versions of Matter Panner and Gajar Halwa are able on the radio station’s Facebook page.

Originally posted on Zainab Jagot Ahmed | Indian-inspired baby food and toddler food recipes:

Well yesterday was definitely an experience I won’t forget! My first LIVE cooking appearance on the BBC. It was a nervy experience but simultaneously FANTASTIC; I had a great time!

BBC Radio Leics Interview

I was invited to appear on Rupal Rajani’s show on BBC Radio Leicester and was asked to prepare two recipes from my forthcoming book – Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddlers and the family. Rupal requested her favourite meal – Matter Paneer, followed by a sweet dessert – Gajar Halwa.

My yummy Gajar Halwa recipe is sugar-less so is suitable for babies from 7 months and up. You can find the recipe here. And my Matter Paneer recipe is a delicious family meal suitable for children from one year and up.

Both recipes are very SIMPLE and only take between 20-30mins to cook – this includes preparation time! I however, had slightly less time to cook both recipes on…

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