Writers share creative process

Margaret Contreras
Staff Writer 

Three senior creative writing students presented their senior projects –  two of them read their work and one of them talked about it –  on Wednesday in the Howell Board Room. There were 10 people in attendance.

The students, Jefferson Croushore, Jocelyn Hancock and Aniyah Powell, each took 15 minutes to talk about the story they were doing, their inspiration for the story and what they felt they needed to improve on. Hancock and Powell read a clip from their story and Croushore talked about the story. 

Croushore, a creative writing major who went first, discussed the influence authors, including Edgar Allen Poe, have had on his writing techniques and influenced how he views himself as a writer. 

“Being a writer has changed from how I saw it when I started,” Croushore said. “Being a writer is an evolving thing, just like how our lives evolve.”

Each of them talked about how they had ideas for different stories. They all told the audience they would write down their ideas, even in the margin of their notebooks while in other classes. 

Powell, a senior political science and creative writing major, talked about her story and what inspired her. The tropes she is using within her writing are love and angst based in a war zone.  

“The inspiration I found for these themes was in the book ‘Song of Achilles’  by Madeline Miller,” Powell said. “I also found the inspiration for the war scenes from the movie ‘1917’ (2019) directed by Sam Mendes.”

Hancock, a senior creative writing major, was the final student to present her project. She was open about how she struggled with revising her story. 

“I have a hard time revising my stories,” Hancock said. “My final revision sometimes ends up looking like my first revision. I am trying to get better at that.”

Hancock’s research and inspiration for her story came from people being obsessed with celebrities. She wrote about what happens when one fan finds out the celebrity she is obsessed with has a darker cannibalistic fetish side. She said she took inspiration from the 2023 HBO series “The Last of Us”  and the 2011 Netflix series “Black Mirror.”

There were a handful of students there to support their fellow students and friends. 

Mallely Caceres, a junior psychology major, attended to support her friend who was presenting her story. She also knew the other presenters. 

“I read Jefferson Croushore’s story about a talking cat named Periwinkle,” Caceres said. “I do love the idea about the celebrity story. Especially how they are held to a certain standard.”

The creative writing students were asked a series of questions after the presentation. They were asked about the research process for their stories. 

“I feel like facts in a [fiction] book are optional unless it is based in a historical period or something along those lines,” Croushore said.

The student writers were asked about how they chose a story from all the ideas they had and how they found inspiration for new stories. Most of the time they said inspiration was found in the media.

“I find inspiration in social media, movies, shows and books,” Powell said. “Books are a really good inspiration, especially in the genre you want to write in.”

The final question the seniors were asked was what they wanted to do after they graduated. Powell wants to apply for grad school of political science, Croushore wants to start writing his next book and Hancock wants to travel and experience the world outside of school. 

They each gave a piece of final advice for students who are in creative writing: They told them to always write down their ideas and to be in a community with other creative writers to help bounce ideas off of each other. 

“You are your own harshest critic, don’t take yourself too seriously,” Croushore said.

Margaret Contreras can be reached at margaret.contreras@laverne.edu.

Magaret Contreras is a sophomore communications major with a concentration in public relations. She is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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