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Posted by Maria Pawlak, Fiction Reader for issue 9.2
Picture this: the perfect writing playlist is pulled up on Spotify. Your favorite pen rests beside a pristine notebook (you needed another brand new one for this project, of course), and the coffee you reheated in the microwave steams gently in front of your fully charged laptop. It’s perfect. Now, you think, I’ll finally be able to start my next big writing project.
Posted by Sara Devoe, GD Managing Editor for 9.1
When writing fiction, we travel into a world with no limits. The writer is both the navigator and the passenger on a journey to which they may or may not know the destination. This destination most always, though, starts with a character. Most writers of fiction, including professor Rachel Hall with whom I took a workshop focusing specifically on writing characters with, will tell you that plot comes from characterization. A character must want something in order for there to be a story. But this raises the question–how does one go about writing a character? Sometimes, we can mine our lives for characters, but other times, the story calls for a character who is unlike us or who has experienced different things than we have. Continue reading
Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/red-cakes-flowers-fondant-286197/
Posted by Rebecca Williamson, GD Managing Editor for 9.1
As a fellow writer, I understand that submitting your work can be scary. You’ve probably revised and edited many drafts. You’ve poured countless hours into making sure each word, each punctuation mark, is perfect. All writing, even if it’s fictional, is personal. Now that I’m on the other side of the submission button, I’m recognizing that there’s more to submitting your work than just pressing the button once you have your final draft. One thing that writers need to consider is their cover letter. Continue reading
Posted by Emma Raupp, Poetry Reader for 8.1
Writing only seems simple. Each day we casually compose texts, tweets, posts, and reviews but as soon as we’re expected to break out our professional writer’s voice for an assignment, the pressure is on. Despite my experience writing papers for high school and college, I still find myself staring at a blank Word document, struck by the need to write something brilliant, but terribly unsure of where to begin. I can see a fuzzy mental image of all the brilliant points I want to make; however, I’m so overwhelmed by my ambitions that I’m having trouble materializing it. The confidence I’ve carefully curated over the years evaporates, leaving lackluster doubt where my words should be. Sound familiar? Well, read on.
Posted by Aliyha Gill, Poetry Reader for 8.1
As a poet, I’m always looking for inspiration from other writers. I search for words, images, and techniques that I can borrow and make my own. So when I recently found myself in a writing rut, I dove into the poetry section of Barnes & Noble. Once I discovered Sylvia Plath’s poetry, I quickly noticed how it was riddled with enticing lines. Pen in hand, I jotted down every word or phrase that caught my eye. By the time I was finished, I’d read her poetry collections “Ariel” and “The Colossus” in their entirety. As a whole, her poems have melancholy tones, including “Morning Star,” which was written for her daughter, Frieda. Her stanzas are relatively short and her poems rarely exceed three pages. Plath tended to personify nature in her writing. She writes, “whoever heard a sunset yowl like that,” “let the stars Plummet to their dark address” (“Magi”), “the moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary,” (“Purdah”), and “by day, only the topsoil heaves” (“The Colossus”) are all great examples of this technique.
I also noticed that she used the following words/phrases in more than one poem:
Posted by RebeccaWilliamson, GD Fiction Editor for 8.1
I could barely see a few feet in front of me. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the streetlights provided little light as my friend and I walked down Main Street. The chilly air wrapped around me like a blanket, and I shivered when the dark shadows moved to my left. I told my friend I was scared of the dark, but quickly retracted my statement. I wasn’t scared of the dark; I feared what could be lurking in it. I feared the unknown.
That’s how I felt that night walking down Main Street waiting for something to jump out at me. That’s how I feel when I’m lying in bed at night and I hear a loud bang and wonder if someone is in the house. Mostly, I’ve realized that’s how I feel about my writing.
How could a person fear their own writing? Continue reading
Posted by Hannah McSorley, GD Fiction Reader for 7.1
At the beginning of this semester I decided I was going to do things that I was scared to do—and number one on that list: write a creative nonfiction essay about being born without some of the muscles in my left leg.
This is not a new topic for me. In fact, most of my early childhood writing attempts took on this topic. Despite my numerous attempts to use writing, specifically fiction, as a tool to understand and communicate my experience, I always ended up abandoning what I’d written. This time I decided that nonfiction was the way to approach this material. I determined that I would see my essay through to a final draft, even if I decided not to share it. Continue reading
Posted by Bri Forgione, GD Poetry Editor for 7.1
Rejection is everywhere. Rejection is inevitable. We experience it in relationships, job interviews, writing submissions, and much more. Some experience rejection more than others, and some people handle it in different ways from one another. When it comes to rejection in creative writing, I believe it helps make a stronger writer. In her poem “One Art,” Elizabeth Bishop writes “the art of losing isn’t hard to master.” “Lose something every day,” she advises, “Then practice losing farther, losing faster.” In terms of rejection, we want Elizabeth Bishop to be right. However, we often find ourselves feeling disheartened and hearing the same seven words, “Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it,” doesn’t help. Continue reading
Posted by Connor Keihl, GD Creative Non-Fiction Editor for 7.1
Last semester, Spring 2018, I took a fiction workshop with Professor Kristen Gentry. I was excited to try my hand at fiction. However, this was a particularly interesting workshop because we were told that we’d only be writing one story for the entire semester. Working with one story over the course of fifteen weeks meant dedicating plenty of time to revision.
Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline, defined what he sees as the process of revision: “finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you’re ready, pick it up and read it, as if you’ve never read it before. If there are things you aren’t satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that’s revision.” This is a sentiment I’ve heard echoed by many different writers, but often, for students, this process isn’t an option. Continue reading
Posted by Connor Keihl, GD Creative Non-Fiction Editor for 7.1
The Genesee Valley Council on the Arts is hosting their fourth annual New Deal Writing Competition! This is a short story competition where the writer is asked to use a painting chosen by the staff of GVCA as inspiration for their short story. For this year’s competition, we have selected Jacques Zucker’s “Fountain, Central Park” from our New Deal art gallery as your inspiration. The painting chosen is featured below.