Portfolio 3-Short Fiction

Writing short fiction was definitely a huge challenge for me. Out of all the genres that we covered over the semester, short story writing seemed to be the most difficult for me.  Making up characters and putting them into a story is harder than it looks.  I have always stuck to poetry because that’s what I know I am good at and that’s where I feel safe.  Writing short fiction has taken me out of my comfort zone and I am glad this class helped me get acquainted with it.

I  had many struggles with my story, “The Progeny”. I started out brainstorming ideas of what I wanted my story to be about.  I knew right away that I wanted to write about the Moon and the Sun quarreling. I took that image and decided that it would be an interesting story if I used the sun and the moon as the mothers of our world. I didn’t want the story to be cliché but I wanted it to have a mythological sound. My story was intended to start off positive and end negatively but the rise and fall of the moon and sun were the main focus of my story. As I read over my story again, I did feel like the closing paragraph could have been seen as biased because of the word “we”. I do feel like this should be changed considering that the narrator played a neutral role throughout the story.  I think using the word “they” makes it flow better.

My second story, “The Magical Wheelchair: A Christmas Story”, was easier to write for some reason. I just thought of it right away and it didn’t take long to write. This story is more of a comedy/drama and having dialogue was interesting because I’ve never tried that before. I had a lot of fun creating my characters so I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback.

This class has been a great learning experience.  I enjoy any opportunity that allows me to be creative. In this class, I was kind of able to be forced into doing new things and writing in genres I’ve never tried before.  I wish we could have spent more time writing in class and sharing instead of working at home on the blogs. In this class and many others I have taken, I feel that the blog writing disconnects the student from the teacher. I’m an old fashioned student I guess. I did really enjoy the free writing exercises but I think we spent too much time focusing on the weekly readings. It’s definitely beneficial to read other stories and poems in the genre you are writing in, but at the same time, sometimes the class seemed to be more of a normal literature survey class than a creative writing class. All in all, this class has been fun and a good learning experience and I look forward to taking more workshop classes. Next semester I am taking poetry workshop. Maybe the semester after that I will take one in in short fiction writing. We’ll see.

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1 Comment so far

  1.   jenny abeles on December 29th, 2011

    Hi Sam, and thanks so much for your feedback; I’m glad you feel you benefitted from the course in some ways. I tried to use the literature we read in order to highlight specific things about writing that I wanted for all of us to think about and experiment with, but I’m sure I could streamline that component of the course so as to make it more effective.

    Your commitment to your writing, and–generously–to your peers’ writing has been in evidence all semester long, and you have brought much energy and intelligence to the class. With just one absence and such lovely work, you have earned an A in the course.

    “The Magical Wheelchair” is a strange and delicious fairy-tale, the character of Gilbert such an unusual protagonist for this kind of story, which certainly mixes the high and low, the exalted world of magic with the common and darkly comic world of bad jobs, bad words, and bad luck. I really appreciate such genre-mashing when it’s done as creatively as this. And I’ll never hear “ho ho ho!” the same way again.

    “The Progeny” turned out to be quite controversial, wch I think is a good sign. It got people’s attention, and people had opinions about it, wch is so much better than the “oh, isn’t that nice” response. I personally love a deliberate summoning of mythic tones and themes in contemporary literature (have you read Jeannette Winterson? I think you’d really like her–start with _The Passion_), and think you’ve done a good job of that here. You know, God in his Creator role has long been considered the divine prototype for the artist, who also creates, and the fiction-writer in particular creates “worlds in miniature,” wch is how Philip Sidney puts it, I think, drawing a close parallel between artists and gods. In your story, this correlation is seen with deep cynicism, the Creation of the Sun and Moon in no way being good, perhaps intimating that anything Humanity creates will also necessarily be bad. That message then reflects on the story you yourself have written–does the story portray doubt in artistic processes and productions? The writing itself is quite beautiful.

    I, for one, have really enjoyed getting to know you through your blog, and I wish you success in your poetry workshop next semester!

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