Spotlight: Creative Writing

AJ Fitzgerald, Creative Writing Instructor:

“Since last week’s update, the creative writing students have dived deeper into additional elements of storytelling: namely place, narration and time. On Monday we studied different modes of narration, and the ways in which narrators can be classified beyond the usual categories of first, second or third person. We talked especially about the term aesthetic distance, and how an author can create varying degrees of physical, intellectual, moral, emotional or cultural distance between characters, narrators, readers, and the author’s own crafted persona.

To punctuate this lesson on distance and point of view, the creative writers took a trip up to the Rocca, a medieval fortress that sits upon Spoleto’s highest point. The entire valley is visible in 360 degrees from the foot of the Rocca, and so the students were able to get a unique perspective on the town they’ve called home for the past 2 weeks. Before the end of the lesson I asked students to look west, toward the United States, and reflect upon how distance from home can help develop a fresh perspective on the places most familiar to them.

On Tuesday we studied time: how time gives our stories stakes and therefore meaning, how to effectively characterize the passage of time, and how to juggle multiple timelines in a single story. As an example of artful time management, we read It’s Bad Luck to Die by Elizabeth McCracken, a story that spans a 20+ year marriage from start to finish in only 20 pages.

Today I will be meeting with each student individually to discuss the direction of their final projects. They’ll have through the weekend to produce a rough draft, and while that’s a tight schedule, deadlines are often the student writer’s greatest muse!”

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