Tips for Narrative Development
By: Sean Wesen '22
Having trouble with low stakes, boring characters, or an uninteresting narrative? We’ve got you covered. Below are a list of tips and tricks to help you develop your story into a compelling narrative.
Respect the Stakes
All writers want readers to be invested in their story. That is why you need to be very careful with your story's stakes. They are sacred and should not be taken lightly. Set the stakes early on and if your characters don't heed said stakes, make sure they face repercussions. Never do anything to weaken these stakes or undermine them because if you do, it makes your character's struggles much less interesting.
How to Revise
By: Sean Wesen '22
Are you an aspiring writer who needs some advice on how to fine tune your work? Or perhaps an experienced pro looking to pick up a few tips? Below we have collected a handful of tidbits that ought to help you revise your work into a masterpiece.
Revise Out Loud: Typos have a way of falling through the cracks of a heavily revised piece. The best way to root them out for good is to read your work aloud. This will help the typos to stand out.
How to Write Killer Horror Story
by Sean Wesen ‘22
You’re staying home tonight. Your roommates all went out for steak, but you told them to go without you because you’re a vegetarian. That was a lie, but much less embarrassing than trying to explain that you couldn’t afford it. You think to yourself “I’m going to make a great starving artist one day” and smile.
While you feel bummed about being left out, you have decided to make the most of the night by being productive. Homework? Studying? Job searching? No no no. Sure, you want to be productive, but not THAT productive. Instead you are going to finally work on that horror story you've been sitting on.
You have only managed to just barely get out a page, but you are so sensitive to sound that you can only work in complete silence. With everyone gone and the house all to yourself, now is the perfect time. Or at least that’s what you thought.
5 Reasons Why You Should Minor in Creative Writing
By: Sean Wesen '22
Whether you're a seasoned Rutgers student or an incoming freshman, the decision of what to major or minor in can be a stressful one, even if it's one you don't have to make for another few years. It’s a difficult balance between what you're good at, what's marketable, what's profitable, and what's fun. Perhaps you're in that situation right now and are researching the creative writing minor in hopes of finding your answer. If that's the case, while we can't make the decision for you, we would be happy to walk you through the creative writing minor to decide if it's the right fit for you.
Why D&D is Great for Young Writers
By: Sean Wesen '22
Your ally, confident in their acrobatic abilities, leaps across the ledge and makes the one in a million mistake of loosing his grip. In a flash you quick draw your arcane focus, but can you cast the feather fall enchantment before he's a puddle on the bottom of the crevice?
You have been making small talk with the vault guard for a good while now and finally you can see your words infused with insidious magic have taken a hold of him as evidenced by his suddenly wild eyes darting to and fro. He can't tell ally from foe and suddenly bolts for the door. As you signal your fellow miscreants you smile knowing that the no one stands between you and treasures beyond your wildest dreams.
With the last of her energy she heals your broken body and you wake with a start. All around you your merry band of adventures lay beaten and unconscious. You are the last one standing and the levitating orb of flesh and eye stalks laughs maniacally. It seems as if all hope is lost, but you know this beast is on its last legs so to say, and if you can best it you have enough healing potions to stabilize your team. The odds aren't in your favor, but that doesn't stop you from raising you blade and charging forward with a mighty cry.
Meet the Faculty: Emily Wallis Hughes
By: Sean Wesen '22
A poet, editor, and Part Time Lecturer at Rutgers, Emily Wallis Hughes grew up in Agua Caliente, California. Her first book, Sugar Factory, was published in 2019. She was also my first creative writing professor during my fall semester at Rutgers, a class I chose on a whim during add/drop week. Four years later, after graduating as an English major and creative writing minor, I sat down with Emily to discuss her new position as Editorial Co-Director of Fence, a nonprofit independent publisher of the award-winning and influential biannual literary magazine, Fence, full-length books of poetry and prose, The Constant Critic, and Fence Digital.
Welcome Back to Fall 2022
By: Sean Wesen '22
Writers House welcomes you back to Rutgers! We hope your summer was a relaxing one and that you got some writing done and read books that you love. Now that you're back, we are happy to tell you that we have exciting things planned for the coming weeks.
Join us for a conversation about Southern history, the natural world, Black religious experience, and photographic practice, in conjunction with the exhibition Meeting Tonight: Two South Carolina African American Camp Meetings. Artist Holly Lynton and Rutgers professor Maurice Wallace discuss their collaboration on this project, which started in 2017. Lynton's photographs of camp meetings in the sacred outdoors are accompanied by Wallace's homiletical meditations. Together, image and text convey an emotional history and materialize a prayer for its undefined future.
Holly Lynton is an award-winning fine arts photographer based in Massachusetts. Maurice Wallace is a Rutgers professor who has served two North Carolina African American congregations as lead minister.
A reception follows the talk.
On view at the Zimmerli through September 25, the exhibition is a collaboration among Holly Lynton, Maurice Wallace, and the Gospel Materialities Working Group in the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers.
Save the date for the return of the Writers at Rutgers series. Writers at Rutgers is an exchange between well-known writers of diverse backgrounds and the Rutgers students and faculty. This semester you'll be able to hear from Joyce Carol Oates on Wednesday October 19, Raven Leilani on November 9, and Robert Jones Jr. on Wednesday March 1, 2023. More details to follow about both events.
Joyce Carol Oates is a prolific writer known for novels like A Garden of Earthly Delights, The Falls and Them. One of her books, Blonde, is now a Netflix series. S
We are also happy to announce the visit of award winning author Raven Leilani. Her book, Luster, was awarded the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the 2020 John Leonard Prize at the National Book Critics Circle Awards, the 2021 Dylan Thomas Prize, and the 2021 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Don't miss the opportunity to talk with this lauded author on November 9.
Our final guest is Robert Jones Jr., author of The Prophets, a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction. He is a writer, and also the creator and curator of the social-justice social-media community Son of Baldwin, which has over 300,000 followers across platforms. Make sure to be here when he visits Rutgers on March 1.
This semester will also see the return of the fan favorite Inside the Writers House sessions. For those who don't know, Inside the Writers House is candid access to working writers from all over the world as beloved Writers House instructor (and former bookstore owner) Alex Dawson talks craft (via video chat) with some of the year's hottest pen pushers.
View video compilation of recent Inside the Writers House events here.
Last but not least, we have the Winter Creativity Showcase, a biannual event featuring the creative work of Rutgers English and creative writing students. Held in the winter and spring of each year, this event illustrates the many talents of our students in the categories of poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, playwriting, and multimedia. Winning students will read from their work or show a sample of their video or podcast projects. Interested in sharing your work? Keep an eye out on our website and social media channels for more information.
As you can see, we have big things planned for this semester, so stay tuned...
For regular updates on current and future events be sure to follow @RU_WritersHouse on twitter, @Rutgers English on Facebook, and @ru_writershouse on Instagram.
Student Experience: Meggi Blazeska
Writer: Sean Wesen, '22
This week, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Meggi Blazeska. Meggi was raised in Skopje, North Macedonia. Currently, she is the External Secretary for the Rutgers Creative Writing club. She is majoring in Economics, minoring in Creative Writing and Entrepreneurship, and will graduate in 2022. We talked about her history with writing, thoughts on the club, publishing opportunities, and much more.
Meet the Faculty: John Hulme
Written by: Sean Wesen '22
"As a writer and as a creator, you have to have the willingness to not quit, to fight until death." ~John Hulme
This week, I got to know a professor whose work I had the pleasure of reading all the way back in elementary school. I had loved the Seems, so taking a documentary creative writing class taught by John Hulme was like a dream. I was surprised by how tall he was, and certainly surprised at how much of a window into his life we got in that class. He's the kind of professor who genuinely wants to see you succeed and help you make something you're really proud of. So, when I had the chance to interview him, I was more than happy to do so. This interview with Rutgers lecturer, novelist, and filmmaker John Hulme was incredibly inspiring.
Meet the Faculty: Adam Dalva
Name: Adam Dalva
Genre(s): Fiction, Non-Fiction, Graphic Novels, Literary Criticism
Classes taught at Writers House: Non-Fiction, Introduction to Creative Writing, Advanced Multi-Genre
Tell us three interesting things about yourself that most people don’t know.
I deal 18th Century French Antique Furniture.
I once sang in the White House.
I’m one of the ten highest ranked Goodreads critics in America.