By Joe Lettig
His government name is Theodor Seuss Geisel, but most adults and children alike know him as Dr. Seuss. His close friends and family called him Ted. He attended Dartmouth College in 1921, and was seen as a distant person. He was not asked to rush any fraternities his freshmen year, but he seemed to have made some friends. He was caught his senior year, with nine other friends drinks gin in his dorm room. Since it was 1925, prohibition was still in effect. The dean was furious, and placed all of the students on probation. He stripped Ted of his editorship for the college newspaper, for him to write under an alias. It was originally Dr. Theophrastus Seuss, which he stuck with for about a year. He eventually shortened it to Dr. Seuss in 1928. After graduating, he pursued to get a PhD from Oxford, but was fed up with it after a year. He returned to the United States to draw, and later married his wife. They moved together to an apartment in New York. He first landed a job after posting an ad in Judge Magazine, where he was granted his first big role to advertise for Flint. The advertisement sparked a wave of humorous ads for big companies such as NBC, Ford, GE, and many others. One of his most famous works is Cat in the Hat, which was his thirteenth children’s book. In 1937, he finally published his first book And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street after a failed twenty nine attempts from other publishers. He claimed to have an imaginary daughter named Chrysanthemum Pearl, which he dedicated several books too and even signed her name for the family Christmas cards. He is truly a unique individual, but unquestionably one of the greatest.
“Author.” Seussville. Bertelsmann Media Worldwide, 2013. Web. 10 April 2013.
By Taylor Stacy
Reversal is a fictional writing term that identifies the point at which a plot takes a turn for the protagonist that the reader was not expecting (DiYanni). Plot turns can make a story go from flat to interesting within a matter of literary moments. These moments can be created through a tragic accident, a character, or any number of incidents
The book, “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult is a prime example of several plot turns. Near the end of the story, there is a large accident involving the little sister. It results in her death. Before this accident, the older sister was supposed to wait out the fatal results of cancer, but after the accident, she is able to live because she receives her sister’s organs. The book “Fight Club,” by Chuck Palahniuk is another classic example of a plot twist; only this time the protagonist ends up being the antagonist. The narrator is the protagonist and remains unnamed throughout the book. Tyler Durden is the co-founder of Fight Club, who ends up getting the two of them in immense amounts of trouble with the government. They do not realize that they are actually a single, delusional person.
In my last story, I made an effort to create a reversal. My main character, Kristen, is living with a girl named Cynthia. They decide to go out to a bar where they are kidnapped, drugged, and examined by the Russian mob in an attempt to put them into a prostitution ring. Cynthia and Kristen escape only to be tracked to their apartment. As Kristen tries to escape, she is betrayed by Cynthia and handcuffed. I hoped that no one would see this plot twist coming so that it would be as effective as I intended.
DiYanni, Robert. “Reversal.” Glossary of Fiction Terms. 5th ed. McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2002. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.
By Ashlan Andrews
The word allusion is a noun that means: “passing or casual reference; an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication.” When I think of the word allusion I think of all the times I am reading something—whether it be a play, a short story, or a novel—and the author alludes to some other piece of writing. I like when authors do this because if I know what they are referencing to it makes me feel pretty smart and well-read. I have noticed, over the course of this year, that a good bit of the time authors allude to two very well-known pieces of work: The Bible, or plays written by Shakespeare. In my Brit Lit class, we are currently reading the play “Endgame” by Samuel Beckett. At several points in the play Beckett alludes to both the Bible and Shakespeare; the plays he alludes to by Shakespeare include Richard III and The Tempest. At one point, one of the characters in the play, Clov, is speaking and says, “I see… a multitude…. In transports… of joy” and Becket is alluding to the book of Revelation chapter 7 verses 9-10. I find it really interesting how a lot of authors tend to allude to the Bible or Shakespeare. Later on in the play, another character, Hamm, says: “Get out of here and love one another! Lick your neighbor as yourself” and he is alluding to Matthew 19:19 and making a parody of what Jesus said: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The use of allusion is a very important factor when writing because it shows how, when you think about it, everything can be related to everything else through writing.
“Allusion.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.
By Lesley Nelson
This was our second time as a Creative Writing Workshop Class when we were allowed to group critique. That is where we break up in three or four groups with two or three grounded reviewers critique one students story at a time. This was my third story critiqued but my first group critique. Besides the obvious time advantage group critiques provide, I found it to be a nice change and different way to hear feedback as a new writer. We had more time to get to know each other on a deeper personal level. The feedback was a lot more effective due to the small inclusive groups. It was like having a one on one tutor verses attempting to learn advanced calculus in a classroom of thirty people. Being able to talk about the feedback one on one with my classmates will really improve my work as a whole when going back for revision. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy class workshops just as much but being able to switch it up makes a huge difference in the class. It makes students, well at least me, want to try and really help with some awesome, creative criticism and praise. I think our professor has created an extremely well-crafted course that provides a comfortable, safe atmosphere where we as writers can grow individually but also as a group in whole. I am excited for the end of the semester, not because class is over; aka summer’s right around the corner, but to see how all the different methods and exercises we worked on in class to improve our writing.
By Garret Conover
Verbal irony, tragic irony, comic irony. Irony can be found all over literature, nature, history, science, life. Irony can even be found in blog posts. For example, it is ironic that I chose to list different times of irony to open up this blog post when, in reality, I have no idea what all the types of irony are and probably should have put out the perception that I do. Irony is a relatively simple term and one that is extremely common. It’s probably one of the first literary terms I learned in grade school. Ironically enough, for me, this simple term is pretty hard to define. Even further irony abounds at the fact that, even though I knew I struggle defining irony, I chose to write a blog post on it anyway.
Irony happens when you expect one thing to happen but something else happens instead. But, it’s more than that. That merely sounds like a contradiction or a surprise. Those were my efforts. Wikipedia states that irony is, “a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is an incongruity between the literal and the implied meaning.” This definition is defiantly a lot better than mine, though a little confusing. And I don’t think it captures all the aspects of irony, but nobody’s perfect.
Authors use irony to make thing funny. They use irony to increase tension. They use irony to make things more dramatic. Irony is very widely used and a very powerful tool in writing.
I’m an English major, in a creative writing class, and still had to Wikipedia the definition of Irony. How ironic.
“Irony.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 March 2013. Web. 10 April 2013.
By Abi Thompson
I never really thought that I would take a creative writing class in college. It’s not because I have anything against creative writing but I had forgotten how much I love to write for myself. When I was in middle school, I was actually an extremely talented creative writer (yes, I’m tooting my own horn). I had such a creative mind that it came easy to me. In sixth grade, I wrote about a boy picking his nose because the assignment was to describe an everyday occurrence. Well, I got best writer of the week for that piece. Anyways, as I got older, I felt like I lost my creativity until I started taking this creative writing class. It is so frustrating sometimes because my imagination is suppressed under my to -do list, my growling stomach, and my desire for sleep. But once I clear my mind, it is so much fun to let my imagination run wild. It is hard when you have writers block and your 2,000 word essay is due in three days, but there is something magical about coming up with a story entirely on your own. I really enjoy developing characters and describing the quirkiness of people (such as picking your nose) and how people interact with each other. I also love putting philosophy in my papers because I think that is important to readers and to me. I don’t know if I would ever want to publish professionally, but I defiantly want to keep writing for myself. I want to keep my imagination open and start to see the world from different perspectives.
By Sterling Ivey
In describing his approach to one of his most acclaimed works, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner captures a few of the lessons I have learned in this class and in my initial approach to fiction writing.
He insightfully claims that, in describing the book, “’Best’ is the wrong word. That’s the one I loved the most.” So I found with my three stories this semester. I attempted to make my second story, “A Treasure Stolen,” stand apart from the others by embedding much more dense symbolism. Yet, like Mr. Faulkner, the work I consider “best” is indeed the one in which I wrote with a deep level of attachment to it and its characters: “Blue April.” My experience and Mr. Faulkner’s sentiments demonstrate that one must indeed write what he or she knows rather than going out of the way to construct some ingenious work. Write with passion and the content will follow suit.
The follow-up to such a claim, when he describes how he tried and failed so many times to tell the specific story, ties together passion and dedication. This is another lesson I learned in constructing “Blue April.” Though I only wrote it in a few increments, I had been speculating about its outcome, characters, and the various details of the setting for months. The point I got from that experience and from Faulkner’s musings is that if a writer feels that a story must be told, it will be, in some shape or fashion. The passion attached to that necessary story typically yields a dedication far more important than some conceit of artistic genius.