Writing Update! Contest Results!Saturday, April 26, 2014
As my freshman year of college is coming to a close, my attention has been averted more to preparation for finals than blogging as consistently as usual. (But I'll be back soon!)
I am thrilled to share with you all that I was selected as a finalist in the Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest for undergraduates at Wheaton College. My short story The Anniversary of My Death (click here to read!) won second place in the fiction category! This was such a blessing, especially since I am still a freshmen and was competing against upperclassmen.
As a finalist, I was invited to a Master Class held by our guest judge Bruce Guernsey, who is a genius poet. He gave us fantastic advice on writing and how to use our experiences in our work.
The first thing he said was a quote by James Joyce, "Imagination is memory." And then he laughed and added, "But I suppose you could turn that around. Memory is imagination."
Poets and writers try to find their way through the clutter of imagination in their minds. All art enables us to deal with life experiences. In the class, he taught us about how to write based on what we have seen, felt or done.
As writers, we also can write about things we've never done because we can empathize with characters and recognize similarities in events. For example, The Anniversary of My Death is about a writer who becomes obsessed with the thought of his own death and whether or not his work would be remembered. I've certainly never planned my own fake death and yet I could write about it! When writing about things as different from our world as can be, we are able to relate by connecting it, in some way, to our experiences. So even though many themes in the story don't relate to me, I could resonate with my main character Theo through to his desire to be read, to make a difference and to write.
What is the balance between writing about what you know and imagining what you don't?
Coming soon, we will have a guest post from a fellow blogger on how to contact agents and write a query letter. So stay tuned! Sign up for an email subscription to The Write Things or follow on Facebook to keep in touch!