The student will experiment with differents genres and styles in writing short pieces with powerful diction and creative premises.
Creative Piece Artifact: A relatively short science fiction piece about a girl who, following an argument with her brother, finds herself in a rather unusual library.
The idea for “Liquid Library” just popped into my head one day when I heard my little brother ask my mum about the “ten percent mystery”; the myth stating that the average human being only ever uses about ten percent of their brain. I knew that there was no scientific evidence proving this, but it set me thinking about that other ninety percent which, according to the myth, never does anything. This of course spawned the idea: What if it did? And there I had the premise for “Liquid Library”.
However, I was determined not to let “Liquid Library” become some futuristic drama involving people able to use telekinesis or even telepathy. No, I was more interested in human curiosity; in the same way that I had thought “What about the other ninety percent?”, I wanted to show people in my character’s world having the same thoughts. So I created the Library which tested a person’s capacity for knowledge even before I had developed a main character (or even a character) for the story. But I hadn’t gotten too far into the process of puzzling out the Library, before Jamie strolled nonchalantly into my head, waved hello, and settled down.
At first, I was annoyed at this forward and fully formed character always on my mind while I attempted to create the character I had originally intended: a boy, about eleven or twelve, and rather cheeky. But I soon realized there was a reason she wouldn’t leave, so I gave her the boy’s name (Jamie) and worked with her from there. Once I had accepted Jamie, the rest of the story just formed itself around her: the fight with her brother, the walk to nowhere, ending up in the Library, the boy in the ‘reading room’, and Jamie’s fate.
“Liquid Library” showed me that if I just sit down and sit still for about fifteen minutes, my brain will do most of the work for me right away. When confronted with the computer screen or a blank piece of paper I feel like I need to concentrate on writing something, not thinking not through like I did for “Liquid Library”. This made me realize that I should approach more than just my creative writing in such a way.
I am particularly proud of this piece as a story and I think it demonstrates my grasp of plot structure and narrative well, though there is definitely room for improvement. The weakest section by far of this story are the first three or four paragraphs, though really the first six could use some work. These paragraphs are not written well at all. The way in which I just threw the reader into the situation was not as effective as I might have hoped and the sudden mention of Peter, without any explanation of who he is, distracts the reader from what is actually taking place. The explanation of the situation, which comes in paragraph three, is awkward and the language is repetitious. This holds true for most of the first six paragraphs, though a few other problems exist as well.
Out of these, the one that bothers me most is the line “And so she walked on.” Whenever I read this again, I cringe at my own stupidity in including it. I must’ve thought it interesting to write like that, but now I realize that the opposite is true. The line is so awkward that it distracts from the flow (as far as this section can be said to have flow) of the narrative and commands the reader to pause and look back on it to consider if the author really intended it to read in such away.
However, following the first six paragraphs, I really am proud of my writing in this story, particularly in most the descriptions and dialogue. The narrative is uninterrupted (barring the card Jamie receives from the two blank ‘nurses’ which I really should have written differently) and smooth. I maintained the mood throughout the piece and developed Jamie’s character well and without contradicting her personality. The last complaint I might have if I were the reader would be that the events could be more developed. Reading the story again, I realized that many of the occurrences were really just thrown at the reader without much time in between them for the reader to digest what had happened or to think about what was actually said and done in between.
Writing “Liquid Library” was a great deal of fun; much more fun than almost every other creative piece on this blog. Almost the entire time the words just flowed through my fingers and onto the keys and I barely had to think. However all this ended when I realized that I had to end the story somehow. I had the ending in my head; I knew that Jamie would be trapped in the room forever and that she would fall victim to the addiction of the ‘books’, as all those others before her had done, but I couldn’t figure how to do it. Originally I the last line of the entire story actually was: “But she had to get out, she had to get far, far away, she had to find Peter and apologize. . . .” But that just didn’t feel finished; it felt more like the author was about to pick up the pen again and continue as the ellipsis suggested. And I meant to, I just couldn’t find a good way to explain what happened to Jamie in maybe only a paragraph or two more.
I was on the verge of hitting the ‘publish’ button when I had the idea of someone restraining Jamie and forcing her to drink a ‘book’. I wrote this and then the flow was back and my favorite line in the entire piece (with the possible exception of “It’s only heroine for the nerdy.”) was suddenly on the computer screen: “Pride and Prejudice should do you fine, dear.” And I ended it there.