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Getting the Story Right

Earlier this month, Visiting Writing Instructor Dave Onofrychuk addressed banquet attendees at the annual fall conference of the Alaska Writers Guild held in Anchorage. He described the transformation he sees in his APU students who eagerly begin the novel they’ve always wanted to write, and later – 100 pages into their first drafts – find themselves mired in self-doubt.

He explained that writers often bog themselves down with high expectations and visions of instant success, losing sight of the joy to be found in writing. As he guides aspiring writers through this difficult process, he leads them back to the spark that most excited them about their stories in the first place.

“I’m always fascinated when I hear an interview by a published author, and the author says something like, ‘I didn’t think my book would be this big, or this successful,” he said. “And I think: You are a writer and you have an imagination. What do you mean? That makes no sense to me.” He went on to say, “I think we hear that a lot from these authors, because they put it out of their minds and don’t let doubt ultimately discourage them…. They just write because they feel it has to be done.”

David works to embrace this kind of vision for his own projects. Ultimately, he said, “We just want to focus on getting the story right.”

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