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Unveiling the Art of Story Creation: A Dialogue Between Laura van den Berg and Paul Yoon

In the realm of literature, the journey of a story from conception to publication is an intriguing one. This article presents an insightful conversation between acclaimed authors Laura van den Berg and Paul Yoon, exploring their creative processes, shifting approaches to the short story form, and the intricate craft of building a story collection.

Evolving Perspectives on Story Composition

Laura van den Berg (LVDB): As you embark on your third story collection, The Hive and the Honey, how has your approach to this form evolved over time?

Paul Yoon (PY): I’ve maintained a consistent approach in viewing each collection as a unified canvas, aiming to create a trajectory and a sense of accumulation for the reader. However, I’m increasingly focused on adding depth and layers to the stories, exploring verticality rather than just horizontal movement.

LVDB: What draws you to journey narratives in your writing?

PY: Growing up, I moved frequently, leading to a sense of restlessness and a fascination with characters who are in motion, searching for a place to belong. This theme resonated with me, and I found inspiration in literary works that depicted journeys and travels.

The Architecture of a Story Collection

LVDB: How did you approach the overarching structure of your story collection, The Hive and the Honey?

PY: I considered the macro-structure of the collection, ensuring each story contributed to a collective power. Some stories overlapped thematically, so I chose to remove them, allowing others to shine more brightly.

LVDB: Were there any stories that you almost gave up on but ultimately persevered with?

PY: Yes, I struggled with “Komarov” and “Cromer.” “Komarov” was challenging due to its espionage theme, while “Cromer” required embracing open-endedness. However, time away from these stories allowed me to gain a fresh perspective and find a way to resolve their complexities.

Changing Work Habits and Creative Inspiration

LVDB: How have your work habits changed over time?

PY: Initially, we worked in a tiny apartment, sharing a small table. I could write anywhere, but now I prefer a quiet room with a door that closes. In contrast, you’ve become more flexible, writing on the couch with our dog Oscar nearby.

LVDB: How do you incorporate research into your writing process?

PY: Research often leads me to the stories themselves. I read widely, and specific historical details and narratives can capture my imagination and inspire me to create focused worlds that resonate with a larger historical context.


The conversation between Laura van den Berg and Paul Yoon provides a glimpse into the creative minds of two accomplished authors. Their insights on the evolution of their writing approaches, the architecture of a story collection, and the role of research in inspiration offer valuable lessons for aspiring writers and readers alike. Ultimately, the article celebrates the joy of reading, the power of storytelling, and the collaborative nature of the literary journey.

Call to Action: Dive deeper into the art of storytelling by exploring the works of Laura van den Berg and Paul Yoon. Let their evocative narratives transport you to new worlds and inspire your own creative endeavors. Immerse yourself in the written word and discover the boundless possibilities of storytelling.


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