Saturday, November 30, 2019

STIP Student Sanjana Raghavan Approaches Experimental Literature through Creative Writing

Hello, my name is Sanjana Raghavan and I am an English major with a concentration in literature. Although I am an English major and I love reading and analyzing texts, my passion lies in creative writing. This research project started when I was working on a flash novella with my mentor, Professor Laura Scott, and she suggested trying a symbolic story line to tie in the gaps. I decided to write about the life of a fruit fly, and that was where this novella was born. The fruit fly pieces held a different urgency, and were formed from vivid, stark prose. Initially, I wanted to challenge myself to write a more experimental novella and solely focus on the life of a fruit fly. However, the lure of paralleling an unlikely human protagonist (a gay and Indian (South Asian) American woman) with the fruit fly soon drew me, and I was struck by the idea of a character who was confined by her body and skin in the same way a fruit fly is confined by its life cycle.

On a weekly basis, I either write, edit, research, or collaborate with my peers or my mentor to workshop and implement edits. The vast majority of my process is simply writing, editing, and repeating the cycle until I arrive at a publishable product.

In terms of my long-term goals, I plan on going for an MFA in creative writing. I will submit my finished novella to literary magazines and publishing agencies, and I may also use it as part of my portfolio for the MFA application. This project was extremely helpful because I do not normally work in longer forms, and my work is not usually this experimental. I feel much more confident approaching longer forms and challenging myself to try new things in my writing. I also found peers who were working on similar projects, and their edits were very useful.