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Holden Meier is an 18-year-old playwright and Nerdfighter from Kansas. Holden claims he couldn’t live without the theater, and does NOT count Stephanie Meyer among his favorite authors. A member of Figment from the very beginning, he writes punchy and often funny plays and stories.
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What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Anything in Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. It’s my bible.
Most of your writings are plays/scenes. What draws you to this kind of writing?
A couple of years ago I joined a Playwrights’ Roundtable at a local theater. We would have meetings every other Sunday or so, and I was always driven to finish something in time for the next meeting. At some point kids started to joke about it, and it became like a streak: I had to keep it up! A Eulogy for Chloe Ryan, the last piece I wrote for the Roundtable before I aged out, was literally written in a frantic panic at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, one of the few times I remember just forcing myself to write something. So you’re seeing the results of that. But also, I just love play writing. It has its own separate and exciting challenges from prose writing (e.g, telling a story through nothing but dialogue and stagecraft).
Your play A Eulogy for Chloe Ryan depicts a writer mourning the loss of the main character to the public after the success of his first novel. How did you come up with such an original take on a writer’s success?
As I mentioned above, Eulogy was the final play I wrote for the Playwrights’ Roundtable. I was feeling some strong emotions over that, obviously: I’d been in this group for the last two years, and I was really going to miss the kids, and the atmosphere, and the incredible writing. I wanted to write a sort of tribute to the group, but one that could be appreciated by anyone who has ever had anything end. I played with all sorts of plot ideas, but what finally inspired me was a video by one of my favorite authors, John Green, called “Wrong But Right,” in which he visited several locations from his novel The Fault in Our Stars and talked about the characters. He closed his video with the line, “All I could think about as the night fell, was how much you could love made-up people—and how much you could miss them.” I guess that was my “Aha!” moment.
You get to invite three authors to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
Markus Zusak, because he’s been such a huge influence on my prose writing, and he wrote my favorite book, The Book Thief. David Lindsay-Abaire, because he’s been such a huge influence on my playwriting. And Harper Lee, so that Zusak, Lindsay-Abaire, and I could gang up on her and convince her to finally write another book.
You’ve been a member of Figment from the beginning (woo!). What keeps you coming back?
The community. I have received over 200 comments on my stories, and I can recall maybe only two or three instances when someone was downright rude. I’ve gotten negative reviews, sure, but they were always polite and helpful in telling me what they didn’t like. And then there are the positive reviews: Figgies like Roberta Shapiro and M. Lee and Araidne and Colby and all the others can be so nice it’s almost embarrassing! Kind, supportive communities like Figment are distressingly rare on the internet, and I’m grateful to have found it.