Ned Vizzini
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Ned Vizzini

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
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The best kept secret in music

Press


Prior to the big premiere release of The Other Normals, author Ned Vizzini gathered with four of the principal characters—Perry Eckert, Mortin Enaw, Ada Ember, and Anna Margolis—to ask them about the book and their lives. - Epic Reads


Students at Utica High School got a treat March 22 as a nationally recognized author came to speak at their high school.

Ned Vizzini, the author of such books as "It's Kind of a Funny Story," "Be More Chill" and "Teen Angst? Naaah," spoke to students in the UHS auditorium about the stresses of being a teen and how to become a writer.

According to UHS journalism teacher Stacy Smale, the students won a contest to have the Brooklyn, N.Y., native speak at their school.

"We were in the top five in the whole country," she said.

The online contest winners were determined by the number of votes a school generated.

"A couple of the journalism students had read his books and really wanted to bring him here," said Smale. "It was all them."

Vizzini visited the winning high schools last week during the "It's Kind of a Funny Story" eventful program tour.

During his writing career, Vizzini has talked to crowds at more than 200 schools, universities and libraries.

Vizzini spoke to the students about writing, mental health issues and following their dreams.

He told students that writing was something he always wanted to do and was always passionate about, but once he was signed as an author he felt all this pressure to come up with great books.

"It was 2004 and I was living in Brooklyn, N.Y., working on my second book," he said, "and it was really terrible."

According to Vizzini, he let the pressures of writing a good book drive him to the point where he was contemplating suicide.

"I became really stressed," he said. "I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep and I ended up calling a suicide hotline."

The person on the other end of the line directed Vizzini to a hospital where he was placed in the psychiatric ward.

It was there he got the idea for his second book, which is now a major motion picture, "It's Kind of a Funny Story."

"I wrote it in about five weeks," he said. "I will probably never do that again, but I felt that if I stopped writing I would lose it."

After discussing stress and healthy ways to deal with it, Vizzini talked about his path to becoming a writer.

"Start off writing short stories," he said. "Don't start off trying to write novels."

That's how Vizzini got his start. When he was just 15 years old, he began writing and submitting short stories to his local newspaper.

He kept writing as a hobby through his college years before eventually penning his first book, "Teen Angst? Naaah."

"It's essentially a collection of short stories from my life," said Vizzini.

Vizzini told students to find something they love and do it, because they don't want to look back and have regrets.

One of his regrets was not majoring in English in college.

"I majored in computer science because I was told that I wouldn't make any money as a writer," said Vizzini, "but it wasn't what I wanted to do."

After speaking with students for roughly an hour, Vizzini took several questions from the audience and doled out advice.

One student asked where to start when writing a novel.

"The first step is coming up with a main character you love," said Vizzini. "Once you do that, the rest is easy."

Other questions ranged from naming his favorite writer to what Vizzini wished he did better as a writer.

His replies were Michael Creighton and that he wished he could write a better anti-hero character.

Vizzini currently resides in Los Angeles and has a new book scheduled to be released this fall called "The Other Normals." - Advisor & Source


Kiersten White interviews Ned Vizzini at San Diego Comic-Con 2012. - Epic Reads


On Nov. 2, R-SPaCE hosted an event that invited author Ned Vizzini to come to Radford University and give his inspirational program on how to stay sane in college. Officially titled “How Not to Go Crazy in College,” Vizzini took the audience through some of his tougher moments in order to help them get through theirs. He talked about how after the success of his first book, he was pressured to write a second one due to the contract he had signed with the publisher. This novel caused him to stress to the point he couldn’t eat and had problems sleeping. He awoke one day with the epiphany that the reason the book wasn’t good was because he needed to change the verbs from past to present tense; however, after spending five hours at this task, he realized it wasn’t the answer.

He ended up calling the Suicide Hotline and the actual conversation he had with a representative is now a part of his novel It’s Kind of a Funny Story. He eventually checked himself into a hospital and used what he experienced to write his second novel which was recently released as a major motion picture starring Zack Galifianakis and Kier Gilchrist. Vizzini now uses what he learned during this time to go around the country and speak to students about how they can avoid being so stressed out during the semester. He spoke about a three step system worked for him and that students can use to combat their stress.
1. Keep your antenna up. Vizzini learned this concept from his father and said he used it during school when trying to find what he liked to do. In second-grade during a writer’s workshop, he decided that he really enjoyed writing stories and that’s what he wanted to do for a living. He also talked about alpha and beta waves and how watching TV and looking at computer screens can put you in a low level of hypnosis.

2. Don’t sell yourself short. He then went on to talk about how when he went to college he majored in computer science instead of English because he was always told he wouldn’t make money as a writer. Vizzini said that he acted out of fear and sold himself short. He also talked about the moment that all of his bigger problems came to a head and he snapped because he couldn’t get his bike to unlock. His friend told him once that an acronym for fear was false evidence appearing real. He said that after the incident with his bike, his friend came out and unlocked it for him, telling him fear prevented him from doing it himself.

3. Stress is not a real threat. Vizzini ended his three tips by talking about how no matter how difficult a test or assignment may seem, stress is just your body’s response to a perceived threat and that the things of that nature that frighten you won’t really kill you. He told a story about him wanting to use the pay phone at the hospital, but he couldn’t because another patient was pretending to use it. Another patient saw him stressing out about the situation and told him to use a banana phone and at this point in the program, he pulled out a banana from his suit.

Overall, the program was a lot of fun and after hearing from the author, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I picked up my copy of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and was hooked from the first page. It jumps right into the issues revolving around the protagonist Craig Gilner and helps you to understand what kind of stress could lead someone to needing to make that call to the Suicide Hotline.

Craig realizes he has a problem and checks himself into a hospital where he meets new people and learns that maybe the people he had been hanging out with weren’t really what he needed in his life. He starts to feel better and like he belongs in the world. I won’t give away the ending, but it’s definitely one that you’ll want to read for yourself. - Whim Internet Magazine


"It's Kind of a Funny Story" by Ned Vizzini: Teenager Craig is seriously depressed and off his medication. He decides to kill himself but not before calling a suicide hotline, which convinces him to seek care. He ends up in a psych ward (one for both adults and teens since the teen wing is under renovation) and meets and a cast of predictably quirky characters. The best thing about the book is that it's not depressing at all. It's more a comedy of observation. - Journal Star


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

In late November 2004, author Ned Vizzini called the Suicide Hotline. Despite being the acclaimed writer of two books for young adults, Vizzini was reeling from self-imposed pressure to write a third novel – and over the previous summer, had begun to experience symptoms of clinical depression that would become very familiar to him. Cycling thoughts and difficulties eating became the norm, and by the time Vizzini called the Hotline, he hardly recognized himself.

When the operator answered, he told Vizzini that he wasn't with the Suicide Hotline, he was with a Good Samaritan group – because the Suicide Hotline was overflowing that evening. Vizzini laughed – and began the journey that would lead to the publication of this third and most-loved novel, It's Kind of a Funny Story.

On the advice of the Good Samaritan operator, Vizzini walked to Methodist Hospital, in Brooklyn, NY. He was admitted with “suicidal ideation” and spent five days in the adult psychiatric unit. There, he saw his own problems put into harsh perspective against those in the hospital who had no families, no homes, and none of the advantages he did. As soon as he left the hospital, he began writing about it, giving his situation to a fictional 15-year-old named Craig Gilner, and a month later It's Kind of a Funny Story was born.

Now the award-winning 2006 novel is being released as a major motion picture by Focus Features, starring Zach Galifianakis, Keir Gilchrist, and Emma Roberts.

In the meantime, Vizzini has been speaking at schools and libraries around the world about mental health, writing, and how students can use the latter to help the former. He has spoken at UCLA; the Dalton School; the Brooklyn, New York, and Chicago Public Libraries; Murray State University; NYU; the National Council of Teachers of English; and at a Master's Tea at Yale.

Vizzini began writing when he was 15 years old; his three books for young adults have been honored by the Today Show Book Club, the American Library Association, BookSense, The New York Public Library, and the Austrian JugendLITERAturpreis.

Vizzini's career started at New York Press, an alternative weekly newspaper that published his true-life stories from Stuyvesant High School (the inspiration for “Executive Pre-Professional High School” in It's Kind of a Funny Story). These stories were collected in his first book, Teen Angst? Naaah..., which is being released in fall 2010 in a new trade paperback edition from Random House.

Vizzini followed up with Teen Angst? Naaah... with Be More Chill (2004), the story of a high school dork who gets a pill that makes him cool. His next novel, The Other Normals, will be released in the fall of 2012.

Vizzini currently writes reviews for the New York Times and has recently completed a new young adult novel. He is a writer for MTV's 'Teen Wolf' and ABC's 'The Last Resort.' He resides in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.