Writing and Rhetoric

Second Major

Film Media


Dr. Heather Johnson

Advisor Department

Writing & Rhetoric




Writing, Process, Fiction, Novel, Relfection

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“At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that — the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to try and to try and to try until it comes right.”

—William Faulkner on writing

Storytelling is one of the oldest traditions and forms of entertainment in the history of the human race. Whether through oral storytelling, wall paintings, or the written word, storytelling may be as old as language itself. I yearn to be a part of this history and to have my stories told, so for this honors project I wanted to take on the daunting task of beginning a novel, with the working title The Sand in the Glass.

The idea of The Sand in the Glass is a novel geared at the Young Adult Fiction genre that narrows in on handling loss of life. In short, the story is about Cullen Hue, a once striving young man who has been battered by the deaths in his life until his longtime girlfriend, Maddie, passes away, shattering him—he rashly takes his own life and embarks on a vexatious but enlightening journey through the afterlife.

I sought out to study my own writing process by keeping a journal reflecting on the happenings inside my head—tackling anxieties, breaking through writers block, and finding my characters’ voices. Since I have gone through some tough losses in my life, I wanted to see how the writing process worked as a form of catharsis.

However, the title of the book The Sand in the Glass took on a second meaning. While I did write about twenty pages or so, I did not reach my goals. I was also going to learn more about the querying process, but since my project was so small I was not able to finish this either. So to ensure I took something out of the project, I focused on reflection. I kept a journal documenting my trials and tribulations with the writing process, what worked, what was going on in my life, doubts, etc. I produced a reflective essay as well so I would have a tangible document highlighting my writing process and what I gained from this experience.

Truth is, while I didn’t meet my outcomes, I did learn a lot about who I am as a writer. I know I need to be structured, and write in chronological order. I need to be alone, and I need to be able to take as much time as I need. Now that time is on my side, I intend to revisit this story after graduation, and still pursue my dreams of becoming a published novelist.

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