Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be another book and if so, when will it be released?
Yes, I’m working on the 12th Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, which comes out on November 7th, 2017. I don’t know how many Wimpy Kid books there will be, but I plan to keep writing as long as kids are still reading them!
Did you always want to be a writer?
No, I actually grew up wanting to be a newspaper cartoonist but nobody would syndicate my work. I finally had success when I snuck my comics into books.
When did you start writing books? What made you decide to write books for kids?
The first Wimpy Kid book was published in 2007. I worked on Wimpy Kid for eight years before I felt ready to show it to anyone. All that time, I thought I was writing one giant manuscript (approximately 1,300 pages) for adults. It was meant to be a sort of reflection on what it was like to be in middle school. When I found an editor who liked the material, I was told that instead, what I had written was a children’s series – NOT a book for adults.
Where do you get the ideas for your characters? Are the books based on your childhood?
The Heffley family is very loosely based on my own family. Greg is made up of all my worst parts from adolescence. I do strive to remember funny things from my childhood, then I put those memories in the fiction blender and they sometimes wind up in the books.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes about nine months to create a new Wimpy Kid book; six months to come up with all the ideas/jokes (I need 350 per book), one month to write it, and two months to illustrate.
What is your favorite book in the series?
My favorite will always be the first one because before that, I didn’t have any success. However, I really love the ninth one – it’s the best story telling that I’ve done.
Who is your favorite character in the series?
My favorite character is Rowley because he loves being a kid and isn’t in any rush to grow up. I like that about him.
What would you do if you weren’t a writer?
I would do what I’m doing right now. I created a website for kids called Poptropica; it’s a virtual world where kids can create their own avatars and hop from island to island completing different quests. This is my day job.
What is your favorite book? Who is your favorite author?
When I was growing up, I loved Judy Blume and also J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Now, I’ll read anything by Bill Bryson or Malcolm Gladwell.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
First, I’d encourage an aspiring author or illustrator to try to think of an original idea, and then nurture it. It can take years to develop a winning idea, but it’s worth it! Second, try to write a short story in the style of a writer you admire because when you imitate style, it helps you to understand how they did what they did. Then, you can add this to your toolkit and use it as you develop your own style. Finally, find a person who can give you honest criticism.
For more answers to frequently asked questions, be sure to subscribe to the Wimpy Kid YouTube channel, where Jeff Kinney answers tons of fan-submitted questions. Do you have a question that hasn’t been answered yet? Leave it in a comment on the YouTube channel and Jeff may answer it in the future!