Monday, May 18, 2015

Freshman Creative Writing Major Discusses Opportunities to Meet Authors

By Madison White

This year in English 405: Problems in Creative Writing, two authors graced the class with their presence: Michelle Herman and Dandi Mackall. Michelle Herman is an English professor at The Ohio State University and has written many books, including Missing, Dog, and Like a Song. Dandi Mackall has written over 350 books, ranging from children’s books to adult books. Some of the titles include, The Silence of Murder, Larger-than Life Lara, and Crazy in Love. One novel, My Boyfriends’ Dogs, was also made into a film.

For me, having these two women come in and talk to our class about writing was just phenomenal. I, myself, aspire to be a writer someday and listening to these authors about the writing process and about writing in general is just inspiring.

Michelle Herman commented that the name of the class,
Problems in Creative Writing, was appropriate: “Story of my life,” she said. There are quite a lot of problems in creative writing, believe it or not. And one of them is just being able to write something.

Dandi Mackall  commented that sometimes, even when you think that what you’re writing is "crap", you just keep writing. Sometimes you might be able to salvage something from that crap. That is actually a beneficial piece of advice because for many writers, there are “problematic points” in their writing; some would call this writer’s block; others would not. Dandi Mackall herself does not believe there is such a thing as writer’s block.

One piece of advice Michelle Herman gave, which I found helpful as well, is that when you’re writing a piece of work that has two different time periods, just write each piece how you feel it, meaning don't worry if the reader will want to be submerged in that particular storyline for that particular chapter. Ultimately, if the writer is immersed in that section, the audience should also be.

It was interesting as well to hear about how each writer works and learn more about her writing process; each writer worked differently. Whenever the opportunity to pick apart the brain of a writer arises, take it because you never know when you might learn something useful.