What advice do you have for young writers?

Question: What advice do you have for young writers?

Khakpour:    Well I think the main bit of advice I would give them is to don’t go by the advice of other writers.  Everyone’s story is so different and you’ll get so much conflicting advice.  I was constantly seeking the advice of my mentors or other writers while I was writing the book, after the book came out, during the book tour – you know everything.  Every step of the way I was like, “So how is this done?  What do you do?” and they would all give me conflicting answers.  And so I think for young writers the best thing to remember is that the world is just run by other humans who make lots of mistakes, and who are trying their best and sometimes doing their worst.  And there really are no rules.  You have to really have some sort of common sense and good intuition.  Is it annoying to call your agent, you know, 12 times a day?  Yeah probably.  You probably wouldn’t do that to your friend.  Is it bad form to stock, you know, this potential agent?  Is it . . .  Is it a bad idea to copy the architecture of another novel . . . of a bestselling novel in hopes of making your own book a best seller?  Probably.  So there’s a lot of common sense things that people often forget when they decide to become writers.  And because there’s no real blueprint they . . .  Like I did, they sort of start interviewing everyone around them about what to do and they get more confused.  So the more I’ve thrown away the script, the easier it’s all been for me.  I used to get very nervous before any form of press.  Or I would think of a shtick to have at a reading.  And then the minute I sort of tossed all that, everything started to go much more smoothly.  So yeah, I say ditch the script.

Ditch the script.

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  • Domino's partnered with the Silicon Valley startup Nuro to have robot cars deliver pizza.
  • The trial run will begin in Houston later this year.
  • The robots will be half a regular car and will need to be unlocked by a PIN code.

Would you have to tip robots? You might be answering that question sooner than you think as Domino's is about to start using robots for delivering pizza. Later this year a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles will be spreading the joy of pizza throughout the Houston area for the famous pizza manufacturer, using delivery cars made by the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.

The startup, founded by Google veterans, raised $940 million in February and has already been delivering groceries for Kroger around Houston. Partnering with the pizza juggernaut Domino's, which delivers close to 3 million pizzas a day, is another logical step for the expanding drone car business.

Kevin Vasconi of Domino's explained in a press release that they see these specially-designed robots as "a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," adding "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."

How will they work exactly? Nuro explained in its own press release that this "opportunity to use Nuro's autonomous delivery" will be available for some of the customers who order online. Once they opt in, they'll be able to track the car via an app. When the vehicle gets to them, the customers will use a special PIN code to unlock the pizza compartment.

Nuro and its competitors Udelv and Robomart have been focusing specifically on developing such "last-mile product delivery" machines, reports Arstechnica. Their specially-made R1 vehicle is about half the size of a regular passenger car and doesn't offer any room for a driver. This makes it safer and lighter too, with less potential to cause harm in case of an accident. It also sticks to a fairly low speed of under 25 miles an hour and slams on the breaks at the first sign of trouble.

What also helps such robot cars is "geofencing" technology which confines them to a limited area surrounding the store.

For now, the cars are still tracked around the neighborhoods by human-driven vehicles, with monitors to make sure nothing goes haywire. But these "chase cars" should be phased out eventually, an important milestone in the evolution of your robot pizza drivers.

Check out how Nuro's vehicles work: