Cover Photo: A point of view from the driver's seat of the car: the dashboard is grimy with dust, and the windshield wipers are a blur in the rain
Photograph by Holly Mandarich/Unsplash

Writing an Ordinary Existence

I didn’t know how to make things happen in fiction—maybe because the drama of my life seemed so ordinary to everyone else.

How do I do this again?



Win Me Something

Whats special about her? There needs to be a reason to tell a story about her. You should be able to tell us, right away, what is special about her.

She existsI didnt know she wasnt special, that she had to be.


I don’t knowUsually you write about an adolescent because there is something incredible about them.


What is a ball? What color is the sun?

What color is the little truck?

They’re geeseT. rexThat’s a stegosaurus

We have a gentle houseHe doesn’t get asked questions in this rapid-fire way

Maybe hes just not ready for kindergarten

Why are you wearing a dress if you’re a boy?

Nothing happens in this storyhappen

If you dont care about plot, maybe you dont see the world as cause and effect. Maybe the world doesnt make sense to you in that way.

The Chinese girl!hoe chinkWe Hate Hokescary

actually, he does have an accent

Whats special about her?

But some people are that alone

Craft in the Real World

Incredibleunable to relate to the narratorcouldn’t identify enough to go to bat for her

Kyle Lucia Wu is the author of Win Me Something (Tin House Books 2021), an NPR Best Book of the Year, and the co-author of the forthcoming A is for Asian American: A Children's Guide to Asian American History (Haymarket Books 2023). She is the Managing Director at Kundiman and teaches writing at Fordham University and The New School.