The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

Author Claire Vaye Watkins speaks to writers


On Thursday, March 2 author Claire Vaye Watkins visited Loyola to speak to inspiring writers about the craft of prose. An audience of students and staff members gathered in Knott Hall to hear the advice of the author.

Watkins is an author and professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M. Watkins’ works include “Gold Fame,” “Citrus,” and “Battleborn,” which received numerous awards including the Story Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize.

Watkins began the lecture by jumping right into the details of fictional writing, pointing out that “every short story makes its own rules,” and “it’s your job as the writer to create those rules.” Watkins referenced several stylistic options that shape the “rules” of a piece of fiction, including the point of view, tone, plot structure, and time.

Watkins urged listeners to think outside of the box when writing. “And don’t hesitate to use the dustier tools in the writer’s workbox,” she said. In other words, get out of your comfort zone and “do something you didn’t know your story was allowed to do.”

According to Watkins, “a plan is important, but be prepared to go off track.”

Since many writers struggle with initial planning, Watkins explained her thought process in the beginning stages of writing. She usually develops a spare outline consisting of some bullet points, accepting that “s—- will eventually hit the fan.”

Watkins finished her lecture by encouraging the audience to push through the fear and uncertainty that comes with writing prose. “I get excited when kids come to my office hours and say ‘I don’t know, it could be awful,’” she said.

“Writing involves a good deal of craft and intentionality mixed with inspiration,” Watkins said. In her experience, the best stories happen without planning because “art does not always go according to plan.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Author Claire Vaye Watkins speaks to writers