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"Don't Talk About It; Write."

Markedly prolific, Ray Bradbury published over 30 novels, nearly 600 short stories, and a considerable number of poems, screenplays, essays, and plays. He believed that writers should take the time to “write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” In the spirit of the renowned author, the KM Perform writing focus has decided to accept his challenge.

To accomplish this goal, students have devoted hours of dwindling leisure time to the endeavour, turning out a story or so a week. And every four weeks, the writers polish one of the stories and either publish it or send it off to a competition. “Writers struggle to get things on paper.” says writing mentor, Michael Weber. “I know it sounds odd, but a lot of writers are really good at thinking of story ideas. Where they struggle is actually getting the story started. This challenge encourages writers to get something down. In time, it has helped us… get over the fear of our words not living up to the story we have in our minds.”

With the last day of school creeping closer than ever, the original 52 stories was cut down to 20. Still a laborious task, the writers have the potential to receive .25 credit in Advanced Topics in Creative Writing. After five stories are submitted for publication, “they will make a collection of their rough and polished works, present them, and write a reflection,” Mr. Weber says.

Alison Bishop, a dedicated writer, says,“I took on the Bradbury challenge mainly because it took weeks for me to create one story, and I thought it would be a great challenge for myself.” She continues, "I have improved as a writer because of the challenge. I get ideas all the time now, I am a better editor because I only have so long to edit the piece, and I'm better at taking criticism... It's been really helpful."

Writing a short story each week reaps more benefits than earning credit. The purpose of the challenge is not only to develop a collection of personal work, but to develop craft as a writer. As Ray Bradbury once said, “You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

 

Meghan Pfeiffer