Soundings magazine staff partners with creative writing class

September 19, 2019 — by Aaria Thomas and Samantha Yee

A handful of journalism students have selected writing and artwork for the school’s art and literary magazine since 1986. However, following the revival of the creative writing class, a team of creative writing students will advise Soundings staffers and  help select pieces for publication in the magazine.

In 2017, Creative Writing was taught by English 10 teacher Sarah Thermond. During this time period, there was also a partnership between Soundings and Creative Writing. 

In those years the Creative Writing class was focused on learning skills and techniques for writing. 

According to Thermond, the creative writing class was mostly involved in the selection process for Soundings. They dedicated a week for reading and voting on submissions. 

The Soundings team, comprised of several seasoned journalism student editors, is tasked with collecting submissions, choosing pieces of writing and artwork and designing the magazine.

According to this year’s Soundings editor senior Anishi Patel, any student  submit writing and artwork to the magazine. The writing submissions will be read anonymously by editors and the creative writing class, and the pieces that garner enough votes from both the editors and creative writing students will be featured in the magazine. 

Creative writing students will also help Soundings editors proofread and lightly edit accepted pieces. Once submissions have been worked through, the Soundings editors will design the magazine. This year, four journalism students will be editors for the fall issue. Aside from Patel, seniors Mathew Luo and Alex Wang, and junior Manasi Garg are on the Soundings staff.

“Soundings’ editing team is much smaller this year, so the workload during the layout design period will fall heavier on our shoulders,” Patel said.  “This is the first time we are trying this, and as with anything new, you don’t know what challenges will pop up.”

The creative writing class consists of students from all grades. Throughout the year, the class will cover topics including memoir, fiction, poetry, satire and graphic novel writing. 

“[The creative writing class] can be differentiated to different students’ entering skill level, but has lessons that are applicable to all kinds of creative writing, such as how do you write concretely, how do you bring something to life and what different strategies for doing that are,” creative writing teacher Amy Keys said. 

Creative writing students have the opportunity to submit as many of the pieces that they write for the class as they would like to Soundings, but the pieces will still be read anonymously and voted on by the editors and the class.

In addition to submitting writing, creative writing students will assist the Soundings editors in editing selected pieces. According to Keys, the class plans to help edit for the fall online edition during the week after Thanksgiving and for the spring print issue the week after spring break.

“I think [this process] will really help because Soundings is just kind of really coming together in the fumes of whatever time students have left over to pull it together,” Keys said. 

Since Patel is the only member of the Soundings staff that is also in the creative writing class, it is her responsibility to facilitate the collaboration between the two. 

Patel will act as a liaison between the two groups, and relay information about the creative writing students’ votes and edits back to the editing team, as well as head the magazine’s layout design.

Soundings’ collaboration with the creative writing class will not only help in the process of choosing submissions and putting the magazine together, but it will also allow different voices and perspectives to be included. 

“I noticed that most of the people [in the creative writing class] don’t know each other, because we are all from different areas of the school and we are all interested in different programs,” creative writing student senior Alena Jarrett said. “I think Soundings will be able to have a better variety of voices from the school because they’ll get input from different types of people.”

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