Benjamin Percy on how comics and movies teach the best lessons about telling stories

Released Tuesday, 29th October 2019
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“You have to think about the shelf-life of the tension you’re creating. There should be a bigger mystery on the other side of that expiration date.” – Benjamin Percy

In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Benjamin discuss the idea that all fiction is essentially genre fiction (3:30); the movement of narrative and the idea that structure underlies all stories (15:00); learning “story math” (31:00); and research processes and work habits (42:00).

Benjamin Percy (@Benjamin_Percy) is the author of four novels, including The Dead Lands, Red Moon, The Wilding, and The Dark Net. His other work includes numerous comics, his writing-craft book, Thrill Me, and his story collection Suicide Woods, out this month. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, and GQ. He currently writes the audio drama Wolverine, now in its second season, and is a regular on the lecture circuit, including at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, Aspen Summer Words, and the Paris Writing Workshop. Find more about Benjamin at

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This episode of Deviate is brought to you by the Paris Writing Workshop, a month-long creative writing workshop at the Paris American Academy, in the artistic heart of Europe. In addition to taking classes and participating in workshops, students will receive one-on-one consultations with professional writers, attend literary panel presentations, and give readings in Parisian venues. Core classes include Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Screenwriting as well as Submissions and Publications, a seminar that will give students information, insight and strategies for getting their portfolio work published.

This episode is also brought to you by AirTreks, an industry leader in multi-stop international travel. If you’ve ever planned a trip with multiple stops, you know that finding the right flights can be difficult. Between balancing travel logistics and cost, it often becomes impossible to build an itinerary that matches your travel goals.  AirTreks is a distributed travel company with employees working from all corners of the world to help with your flight planning, specializing in complex routes with up to 25 stops. The AirTreks website offers suggested pre-planned travel itineraries to help you get started, but can customize to fit your journey.

The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber.

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Episode Details
54m 23s

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