67 episodes

All writing is a tightrope walk from where the idea originates to the moment a book, movie, or TV episode emerges in the world. In The Write Process, Charles Jensen, director of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, asks writing instructors and students who’ve walked the tightrope and come out the other side to talk about their process. Each episode tells the story of how one writer took one project from concept to completion, showcasing the various—and varied—paths we take when we follow one good idea all the way home.

The Write Process UCLA Extension Writers' Program

    • Education
    • 4.8 • 22 Ratings

All writing is a tightrope walk from where the idea originates to the moment a book, movie, or TV episode emerges in the world. In The Write Process, Charles Jensen, director of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, asks writing instructors and students who’ve walked the tightrope and come out the other side to talk about their process. Each episode tells the story of how one writer took one project from concept to completion, showcasing the various—and varied—paths we take when we follow one good idea all the way home.

    Mary-Alice Daniel on Mass for Shut-Ins

    Mary-Alice Daniel on Mass for Shut-Ins

    Mary-Alice Daniel was born near the Niger/Nigeria border and raised in England and Tennessee. A cross-genre writer, she has published work in New England Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Yale Review, and several journals and anthologies. Mass for Shut-Ins, her first book of poetry, won the Yale Younger Poets Prize and was released in March 2023. Selecting her manuscript, Rae Armantrout called it “Flowers of Evil for the 21st century.” Daniel’s transcontinental memoir, A Coastline Is an Immeasurable Thing (Ecco/HarperCollins 2022), was People’s Book of the Week and one of Kirkus Review’s Best Nonfiction Books of the Year. An alumna of Yale University and the University of Michigan’s Writers’ MFA, she turns to her third and fourth books, supported by fellowships from Brown University and Cave Canem. Holding a PhD from USC, she is recalled to California for the third time as the 2024 Mary Routt Endowed Chair of Writing at Scripps College.

    In the 117th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Mary-Alice Daniel confronts culture shock and her curious placement within many worlds. African and Western mythic systems and modern rituals animate an ill-omened universe. Here, it is always night, grim night, under absurd moons. Venturing through dreamscapes, hellscapes, and lurid landscapes, the poems stray inside speculative fields of spiritual warfare. This collection is controlled chaos powered by nightmare fuel. It engineers an utterly odd organism: a cosmology cobbled with scripture, superstition, mass media, mad science. Horrid, holy, unholy—these pages overrun with the unhinged, intrusive thoughts that obsess us all late into nighttime.

    • 50 min
    Jeff Bonnett on Falling for Christmas

    Jeff Bonnett on Falling for Christmas

    Jeff Bonnett is a writer/filmmaker who began his career in Hollywood as a script reader. From there, his first pitch and subsequent screenplay became a film released on the Hallmark channel in 2015, titled “Love by the Book”.

    His latest screenplay, “Falling for Christmas” was released on Netflix last November, where it premiered at #1, was in Netflix’s Top Ten movie list in 92 countries, and was the top U.S. streaming movie across all platforms in its second week running. Before the holiday season ended, it had been viewed over 78 million times globally. Dubbed by IndieWire as “the Citizen Kane of Netflix Christmas movies”, Falling for Christmas is about a newly engaged, spoiled hotel heiress who suffers from amnesia after a skiing accident, and finds herself in the care of a down-on-his-luck widower and his daughter at their quaint ski lodge in the days leading up to Christmas.

    • 54 min
    Nancy Pine on One in a Billion: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey through Modern-Day China

    Nancy Pine on One in a Billion: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey through Modern-Day China

    Nancy Pine holds a PhD in Education and is a professor emerita at Mount St. Mary's University, Los Angeles, where she directed the Elementary Education Program and the Bridging Cultures US/China Program. She has done cross-cultural research in China and the United States for over 20 years, has published over 30 education and research articles, many related to China or cross-cultural learning and has given talks and workshops throughout the United States and internationally. Dr. Pine has spent extended periods in rural China, including five lengthy visits to one village to teach teachers from neighboring communities, consult in the local school and learn about rural life. Her recent book, One in a Billion: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey through Modern-Day China, grew from that experience and challenged her to move from academic to narrative writing.

    One in a Billion is a powerful account of how one stubborn, hardworking Chinese man has lived by his values, stood up for his convictions and succeeded against all odds in the authoritarian environment of China. Despite grinding poverty, hunger, reeducation campaigns and attacks from jealous peers, An Wei has launched one innovative project after another, including a democratic congress in his own village. Resilient to the core, he has continuously worked to overcome corruption, improve the world and build understanding between China and the West. As tensions rise over human rights in China and potential military threats grow, An Wei’s story becomes ever more significant.

    • 30 min
    Denise Cruz-Castino on 5 Weddings

    Denise Cruz-Castino on 5 Weddings

    Denise Cruz-Castino is a Latina screenwriter whose first produced movie, 5 Weddings premiered at Cannes in 2018. It starred Rajkummar Rao of the Oscar nominated film The White Tiger, with co-stars Bo Derek and Candy Clark, and played in 52 countries. Her latest animated children’s horror shorts that she sold to DreamworksTV are on Peacock’s streaming series Spine Chilling Stories. She sold a live action short, The Fountain, to Disney, her horror short, Imaginary Friends, was produced by Raving Eejit Entertainment, and did the festival circuits. Her comedy short, Things Look Grim was produced by Sasha Goldberg. She and her writing partner Johnny Harrington have a sitcom about Denise’s crazy family that’s Mexican on one side and Jewish on the other that’s currently in development. She’s getting ready to go into production to direct her first short in 2023 for a strong female lead dramedy. Her scripts have placed in Final Draft Big Break, Fade-In Screenwriting and Nicholl’s Fellowship contests.

    5 Weddings follows an American journalist, who travels to India to cover Bollywood weddings. Interwoven with the joy and fun of these traditional ceremonies, the film goes beyond the fluff -- to explore the human component of Hijras: a sect of transgender dancers who have been an integral part of Indian weddings for centuries.

    • 26 min
    Sana Balagamwala on House Number 12 Block Number 3

    Sana Balagamwala on House Number 12 Block Number 3

    Sana Balagamwala grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. She studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and has a Masters in Education from Loyola Marymount University. Her debut novel, House Number 12, Block Number 3 was published by Hidden Shelf Publishing House in 2021 and won the Foreword Indies Gold Medal for Multicultural Fiction. It has also been nominated for the Martin Cruz Smith Award by the California Independent Booksellers Alliance. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her family and is currently working towards her MSt. in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge.

    House Number 12 Block Number 3 narrates the story of a young woman's journey towards confrontation and healing. Nadia, 19, has long struggled with bouts of unresolved illness and trauma as a result of assault she experienced as a child. But unable to share her truth, Nadia keeps her tragic secret to herself. Her family, unable to find a reason for her illness begin to wonder if she is possessed by a jinn, cursed, or worse, inclined to madness. House Number 12, the house she lives in, is the only witness to the crime that has all but devastated her, and narrates her story. The novel explores gender roles, and the misinformation and social taboos that surround mental illness and sexual violence in many South Asian cultures, and shines a light on both the personal and the political, as it chronicles a time period in Pakistani history riddled with political strife.

    • 33 min
    Tamika Thompson on Unshod, Cackling, and Naked

    Tamika Thompson on Unshod, Cackling, and Naked

    Tamika is a writer, producer, and journalist. She is author of speculative fiction collection, Unshod, Cackling, and Naked (Unnerving Books), which Publishers Weekly calls “powerful,” “unsettling,” and “terrifying,” as well as author of horror novella Salamander Justice (Madness Heart Press). Her work has appeared in several speculative fiction anthologies as well as in Interzone, Prairie Schooner, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among others.

    She has producing credits at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, as well as at NBC and ABC News. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Columbia University and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Southern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Find her online at tamikathompson.com and on Twitter and Slasher @tamikathompson.

    Unshod, Cackling, and Naked

    A beauty pageant veteran appeases her mother by competing for one final crown, only to find herself trapped in a hand-sewn gown that cuts into her flesh. A journalist falls deeply in love with a mysterious woman but discovers his beloved can vanish and reappear hours later in the same spot, as if no time has passed at all. A cash-strapped college student agrees to work in a shop window as a mannequin but quickly learns she’s not free to break her pose. Entering worlds both strange and quotidian, and spanning horror landscapes both speculative and real, Unshod, Cackling, and Naked asks who among us is worthy of love and who deserves to die?

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

ArtsyRJ ,

Love it!

The podcast is so inspiring during these times. It's validating the small silver lining that writing can be fruitful and fulfilling for us who may be exploring it during the quarantine. Thanks for such an enlightening pod! 👏🏼

Lids86 ,

The Write Podcast!

Had to be done. Seriously, this podcast manages to feel like a conversation among friends AND a perfectly-distilled deep dive into the writing process. I'm excited to hear the rest.

zachugster ,

Thrilled that this is happening.

Yes, I’m definitely invested as a writer and participant, but the UCLA Extension Writers Program keeps consistently pumping out writers I love, so I couldn’t be happier that so many of them get to talk process.

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