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In this episode we sit down with author Micah Perks. Our conversation went all over the place, and we hit on a number topics.

We discussed:

  • Fetal narrators
  • How long it can take to write a novel
  • What happens when revisions don’t work
  • Finding the title
  • How to raise the stakes in the novel
  • Facing your greatest fears as a writer
  • Finding the ending
  • Getting feedback from your partner
  • Fear of influence, idea theft, the hopelessness of such fear
  • The ways that creative writing can be taught or nurtured as well as any other discipline
  • When your work out as shorts and audio shorts
  • Novelists misperceptions that memoir will be easier to write, and the actual huge challenges of the disciplining
  • Using a fictional voice to find her way into the memoir
  • Why she now finds memoir easier to write than fiction
  • Traditional versus modernist/ experimental forms in fiction and nonfiction
  • Permission


Elizabeth McKenzie
Melissa Sanders-Self
Jill Wolfson
Karen Joy Fowler
Nutshell by Ian McEwan
Carlos Fuentes Christopher Unborn
Lauren Groff
Alone in the Woods: Cheryl Strayed, my daughter, and me
Stockard Channing performing Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books
Molly Antopol
David Sedaris
Maggie nelson
Michelle Tea Black Wave
Sarah Manguso
Svetlana Alexievich
Ben Lerner
Austin Kleon stealing TS Eliot’s stealing quote
The Marvelous Land of Oz

Micah Perks

Micah Perks

Author, Professor

The Los Angeles Times called Micah Perks’ first novel, We Are Gathered Here (1997, St. Martin’s),  “a tightly woven story that is as fanciful as it is grimly real.” Her memoir, Pagan Time, came out in paper in 2009 from Counterpoint, has been translated into Korean and is an audio book from In 2010 The San Francisco Chronicle listed it in Best Summer Reading and Adirondack Life listed it as Adirondack Required Reading.  She’s published short stories and essays in Zyzzyva, The Massachusetts Review, Tin House, OZY, Kenyon Review on-line and Epoch, amongst many others, and her stories have been anthologized in The Encyclopedia Project, Viz Inter Arts, The Best Underground Fiction and others. You can find several of her stories on Five of her stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. She has been given multiple residencies at The Blue Mountain Center and received a Saltonstall Foundation For The Arts grant. She won an NEA and The New Guard Machigonne Fiction prize for excerpts of her new novel, What Becomes Us.  Micah lives with her family in Santa Cruz California, where she co-directs the creative writing program and is a professor in the Literature Department at University of California, Santa Cruz.

Story Makers is a podcast that features in-depth conversations with accomplished writers, filmmakers and industry experts about story craft, technique, habit and survival–everything you need to know to stay inspired, connect to your creativity, find others’ wonderful stories and your own success.

The hosts:

Elizabeth Stark is a published, agented novelist and distributed filmmaker who teaches and mentors writers at

Angie Powers is a distributed filmmaker and published short story writer with an MFA in creative writing and a certificate in screenwriting from UCLA who teaches story structure at