Monday, April 29, 2013
By: Chelsea Platt '13
Siena students recently read their creative work as a part of a new course that challenges them to utilize literary elements from longer pieces and deliver in short stories ranging from 200 to 1,000 words.
“It is pretty difficult to develop a plot, characters, setting and conflict in so few words,” said Ericka Pier ’14. The length requirement incites students to balance a poet’s care with language while incorporating the elements of narrative fiction.
Carly Biancaniello ’13, Michelle Campbell ’13, Emily Gustin ’13, Neidy Hammer ’14, Kim Hernandez ’14, Paul Hilston ’13, David Hoffman ’14, Tom Horton ’13, Brittany Pfaff ’14, Connor Rutherford ’15 and Pier presented their work to campus last week.
“The goal in organizing this reading was to give students an opportunity to present their work to an audience beyond their professor and classmates,” said Karin Lin-Greenberg, M.F.A., assistant professor of English and professor of the Flash Fiction course. “This reading helps students to think about how they might revise work for an audience of listeners as opposed to an audience of readers.”
The stories presented at the reading had genres ranging from comedy to drama, with plot-lines like a story about burglars with a twist ending and a tale of a child who hides and prays while her family members fight.
Pier, a junior psychology major with a minor in writing and communications, composed a piece titled “Distractions,” which is an account from the perspective of two strangers who meet in the waiting room at a Jiffy Lube. The piece centers on the thoughts that the man and woman have as they notice one another, and serves as an uplifting story that leaves readers wondering how their relationship will develop.
“The class might sound scary at first because you are required to be innovative and thinking constantly, but you are able to express yourself in ways that you may have been unaware of in the past,” Pier said.
The Flash Fiction course educates students on how to have their work published, requiring them to research online literary journals and submit one of their pieces for consideration. For the class’s final project, the students are creating chapbooks that will consist of several linked stories in varied length. The final chapbook will range from 1,500 to 2,000 words.
“I am hoping to develop a more active community of creative writers at Siena who participate in events like formal readings, open mic nights and get published in literary journals,” said Lin-Greenberg. Her creative writing ventures will continue with a new course next semester titled “Writing Creative Nonfiction.”