fishy business: the novella

For my final project in my 400-level Creative Writing course, we were instructed to create a short story or novella that was a complete work. The professor leading our class asked of us the following:

"Instead of taking on wide-scale societal problems, look for smaller-scale personal ones. Consider the day-to-day lives that people live in dystopian and fantasy realms, and look for individual struggles there that you can render concretely. Focus on a specific individual with wants and fears and motivations and conflicts that create stakes and drive the events of the story.

Likewise, if you find yourself drawn to high concepts and ideas when writing fiction, make sure those concepts and ideas can't drown out your characters. How will you know? If you find that your concept or idea is the only thing your characters ever talk about, or if your concept or idea is at the center of everything that happens in the story, then it's likely concept-driven writing and not character-driven fiction."

Here were some of the elements that the professor asked us to include in our stories:
  • point of view
  • description
  • dramatic action
  • conflict
  • interiority
  • character
  • plot, exposition, structure, scene
  • stakes

Sooner or later, this entire work will be available via link. I will update the front page of this website when that occurs!

click here to view part of this project!

"The only off-putting thing is the title. I think you could choose something else. Otherwise, this flows beautifully." - the one engineer I know

"I love how you have placed the events in such a way in order to give the reader a general perspective, while still illustrating that the characters themselves have their own agendas. "- also the engineer

"I think you should submit this!" - my friend Sydney

This work was also the original story I submitted to the Sundress Publications' residency application.

Amongst other applicants, I twiddled my thumbs. There's no way my work is good enough, says every artist/writer/creator/programmer, there's no way I'll get in!

Lo and behold,

acceptance letter

Fishy Business is a story about romance, cheating, menopause, and manipulation. It is not meant to make a statement on any of these topics, but rather explores how a single individual with a detailed past interacts with these elements. It is worth noting that this is one of the works I am still the most proud of.