Naz was born and raised in Singapore, and currently lives in Los Angeles with his partner Benson, and his two furry garbage collectors – Alex and Raffe. He will forever be grateful to fried chicken for being a primary motivator in his early years, and also for preventing him from becoming a fitness model, because writing is much more fulfilling.
Naz is one of the speakers for our YA Symposium, The Young and the Reckless: Writing for Teens.
Q1: Tell us a little about your debut novel Loophole, and the story world you’ve created.
The Loophole is about a gay Indian-Muslim kid who goes on a journey in search of his missing ex-boyfriend, while accompanied by an alcoholic genie. It takes place across three timelines – present day, recent past, and the genie’s fantastical origin story. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that they’re all interconnected, and that the past will always tie into the present.
Q2: What special challenges did you face making your story stand out from others in the genre?
I’d decided that I wanted to base a story from my own lived experiences. I’d say that, even though it’s fiction, there are so many facets and characters borrowed from my life. I’m sure other authors infuse their stories with as much authenticity as possible, and with this, I tried doing the same, while still masking so much of my history with the journey aspect.
Q3: What’s your writing process like?
I’m a fan of plotting and fast-drafting. I’d spend a week plotting, then two weeks churning out a rough draft. I ramp up to ten thousand words a day, then ramp back down towards the end of the manuscript. I do careful planning of what each scene looks like so my writing process isn’t hampered by not knowing what happens next.
Q4: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to the writers attending the symposium?
Learning to accept objective critiques is the best way to grow your writing. Take notes silently, and only ask clarification questions after the critique is done. Resistance to feedback can be so detrimental to improving your writing. I know because once I opened myself up to critiques from my peers, my stories got richer and more in-depth than ever before.
Naz’s lecture for the symposium is titled: How To Become An Idea Generator
Stop sitting around waiting for ideas to land in your lap and start to actively seek them out in your everyday life and activities. Train your brain that every single moment in your life has the potential for a nugget of an idea to start building a story with. This workshop runs attendees through approximately ten exercises in real time, producing no less than the same amount of original ideas. Attendees can then recycle these exercises for future use, and throughout their lives as idea generators.
Learn more about Naz Kutub
Web site: https://beacons.ai/nazkutub