Added chase scenes, tweaked cultural slip-s, description cuts and perfect names found all were wound together into an advice-filled evening for the participants of the Writers Workshop gro on Thursday night
This gro, which meets every Thursday night in Smith 383, attracts students of various majors aspiring to be novelists, playwrights, editor or, in short, authors of creative writing. Each student brings a piece that he or she is working on to share with the gro and receive critique.
“This gro has helped me more with my writing than any of the classes I have taken,” said Jonathon Valentine, the manager of writer’s workshop and a senior studying English. “They are great classes – don’t get me wrong. But sitting down and actually sharing your story with someone – that’s helped me become way better.”
Valentine, an enthusiast of this gro since 2007 when he came to BYU-Idaho, has already completed his first novel, which he is now trying to publish. His western genre book entitled Blackwood depicts an orphaned boy who, after his parents were killed, was raised by a generous sheriff and his wife. The story is not only a bar-shooting western but also deals with the inner struggle of the boy to stay humane as he deals with the desire of revenge for his parents while balancing the activities of his posse.
The fight to stay humane throughout difficult circumstances is what inspires Valentine to make his characters the way they are.
“I always had an ideal about the way people should act,” Valentine said, “I always kind of wanted to write in my stories about people who go through hardship and not everything ends happy but you can see they are still trying. That’s something I admire in people and something I want my characters to have as well: that quality of being a hero.”
Blackwood is only the first completed novel of Valentine’s workings. Currently he is working on three separate novels of varying genres such as romantic comedy, fantasy and science fiction.
This poly-novelist attempt is not unusual for those attending Writers Workshop. Michelle Kleihege, a freshman studying computer information technology has written 20 to 30 stories of various length but is currently working on three novels: a western, a futuristic Sci-Fi, and another set during the Civil War.
For Kleihege the ideas are constantly flowing.
“Basically, for me, writing is a need. I have to do it or else I end walking around some room aimlessly because I have this story in my head [and] I can’t focus on anything; I just got to get it down on paper,” Kleigehe said.
It is a different story for Katy Carpenter, a senior studying professional writing. Carpenter first found her love of writing in sixth grade when she shared a short story with her class that included a character named after each classmate.
“I remember them laughing so hard, and that’s what got me started,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter does not plan to write novels as a profession or a hobby, however. She would rather edit. In fact, that is why she enjoys coming to Writers Workshop every week.
“I like the creative aspect, but I love helping other people be able to express themselves,” she said.
Carpenter agrees with Valentine that Writers Workshop is helpful because of the personal feedback that each participant receives.
“A lot of writers keep their writing to themselves, but this is a good place to come because all of us, even though we’re not professional, have had some experience and can give good advice,” Carpenter said.
Valentine, Kleigehe and Carpenter are only three of the aspiring writers at Writers Workshop. To hear more about their stories, their inspiration or Writers Workshop, check out the interview videos online at www.byuicomm.net.
Lifestlye and A&E assistant editor