Name: Alexa Konowal
Major(s), Minor(s): Music major, psychology minor.
Graduation Year: 2015.
1. What type of writing do you usually produce for your major(s)?
Research papers. There isn’t a lot of writing required for my music theory and skills courses, but research essays are popular in the history classes.
2. What sort of writing do you do outside of class?
Mostly fiction. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember—I even still have a few illustrated paperbacks from before middle school (and by “paperback” I mean books that were bound by construction paper and/or the standard 8.5x11 sheets).
3. What piece of writing are you most proud of?
People who know me know that I have a bad habit of losing interest in my longer stories fast. When I was in junior high school, however, I somehow managed to churn out a whopping sixty pages for one novel! It’s gone now, which is probably for the best. I want to remember it as the stunning, award-worthy epic that I thought it was then, not the angst-ridden daydreams of an emotional preteen that I know it is now.
4. Where is your favorite place to write? Why?
In my bedroom, with only my Christmas lights on, during a raging thunderstorm or blizzard. (Basically some place familiar and dimly lit during “bad” weather.)
5. What quirky routines do you follow when writing or when you are preparing to write?
I like to create a new playlist on iTunes specifically for the paper or story I’m working on. Usually my selections are emotionally driven: if I’m feeling unmotivated, I’ll throw together a few jigs or dance tunes; if I’m feeling anxious (often because I’ve procrastinated), I’ll pick music that drives away the jitters, like soft, “easy listening”-type stuff.
6. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
Sandra Boynton, purely for sentimental reasons. My dad read But Not the Hippopotamus to me so many times when I was little, I could probably quote at least two-thirds of it today. More recently, I have fallen in love with Jodi Piccoult’s writing. (Sidenote: did you know she pronounces her name “Pee-co”? I didn’t.) She picks really interesting and often controversial topics for her stories, which I like, and she also has a very descriptive, heartfelt style.
7. What was the best writing experience of your life?
I can’t think of any one experience, but I loved my English class during junior high. For part of it, my instructor used a program/concept called “Druidawn.” Each of us had a character and we banded together to go on a writing-themed journey. Every week we had a new prompt, and we wrote stories about our characters or about others’ characters. In other words, Druidawn was Dungeons and Dragons with a ton of writing.
8. What would you most like to improve about your writing?
I often struggle with using descriptions that show rather than tell. Sometimes a moment of genius will strike and I’ll run with it, but other times I feel like I’m forcing myself to make my writing interesting. And that’s exhausting.
9. What advice do you have for other writers at Wittenberg?
If you’re a little scatter-brained like me, try writing your paper by making a super-rough outline and filling it out (rather than creating two separate documents: one for your outline, the other for your essay). This way if you lose interest, become distracted, or find yourself cornered by Writer’s Block, you can jump around from one paragraph to another pretty easily.