Down the rabbit hole of writing


Junior Senna Keesing, who ran the Fiction Writing Special, discusses what makes fiction good or bad and what makes this type of writing so appealing. “I learned a lot of interesting things,” Keesing said. “I saw the perspective of those who prefer to write science fiction more, because I’m not one of those people. Our sponsors, Ms. Glotfelty and Ms. Henry, brought up essays by Mark Twain that justify writing with consistent or inconsistent style or things that I thought were really interesting points to bring up.”

Elizabeth Li and Megan Zhang

Age-old prophecies, bloodthirsty monsters, magic swords, and breathtaking adventures spring out from the worn pages of a book. There is no limit to the wonders the mind can dream up in the realm of fiction. On Friday, Feb. 28, the Jefferson Writing Center held a Fiction Writing Event for the writers and readers of Jefferson.

Junior Senna Keesing was responsible for running the event, the first Fiction Writing Event held at Jefferson. Keesing thought the event would be more fun and less academic-focused than the Writing Center’s other writing events.

“The Writing Center has plenty of other specials,” Keesing said. “Traditionally, we do college writing essay specials and SAT essay specials, but I wanted to do one that was something fun, something people would actually enjoy coming to and wanted to come out of their own free will.”

The Fiction Writing Event inspired a lot of active discussion between students on what they like to see in fiction writing, as well as how they can better their own writing.

“We talked about what makes good writing, what makes good fiction, as well as what makes bad writing and bad fiction,” Keesing said. “We discussed what they prioritize when reading and writing fiction, and we talked about good techniques for writing, like don’t write characters that you’d wish to become and keep your style consistent.”

In junior Charles Morse’s opinion, one of the biggest factors in determining what makes good or bad fiction is the world building. This is a component especially prevalent in fantasy works dealing with the world and setting the story takes place in, including culture, government, geography, and magic systems of the world.

“I think world building is a lot of what makes fiction good,” Morse said, “because if you have the best characters and the best plot, it won’t make sense if you’ve built the world terribly. There needs to be clearly defined things that have happened and there needs to be certain limits on things, and it has to make sense from a readers’ point of view.”

Writing can be a relaxing hobby for many students and serve as a creative outlet for their thoughts and ideas. 

“[Writing is] a nice past time – I have a lot of time on my hands, and also in school we have to know how to write for all these essays and things, but it’s also a nice past time [because] you can get all of your thoughts down on paper or on a laptop,” freshman Audrey Czarnecki said. 

For students like Audrey, the fiction writing discussion is a good opportunity to not only find ways to improve their writing, but also to share their ideas with others who are passionate about stories.

“I want to improve my writing skills so [the fiction writing event] is a really good way of doing that. It gives you information about how to write fiction properly, but also it just gives you more ideas in general. We discussed what makes bad fiction writing, like possibly repeating things too much, and also how you make [your writing] good, like making sure there’s lots of variation in your writing,” Czarnecki said.

This event also drew in students who had never tried writing fiction, but enjoyed reading it and wanted to try their hand in writing it.

“I like reading fiction because it’s kind of something that we never actually get to experience, but books can bring it alive,” Morse said.

Fiction has a way of drawing people in, perhaps because it provides a way to momentarily detach from the mundane struggles of reality and everyday life. 

“It’s like you’re exploring a world that doesn’t exist, so then you can lose yourself in that experience and [take] a break from whatever you might be feeling at the moment, maybe stress,” Czarnecki said.

Keesing has hopes for the event to become an annual special, starting with next year.

“I think doing [the special] again next year would be a great idea,” Keesing said. “Hopefully, we’d publicize it a bit more. I think writing fiction is a good way for people to express the thoughts they have on their mind in a really unique format.”