Name: Alison Bewley
Major(s), Minor(s): Biology major, Russian language and area studies double minor
Astrological Sign: Taurus (or the Rooster, if you prefer the Chinese Zodiac)
1. Other than class assignments, what kinds of things do you write or have you written?
I had a tendency to daydream in elementary school because I got really bored really fast, especially in math class. Since I was a shy, awkward little kid, though, I didn’t like getting yelled at, and my teacher wasn’t super patient with my daydream escapades. I learned that if I wrote my daydreams down, it looked like I was taking notes, and that meant I didn’t get yelled at.
That was how I started writing my first novel and, by the end of that summer, I’d completed a 60,000-word story about empires and resistances that revolved around a sassy twelve-year-old. It was awful, of course, but I loved it, and now I’m addicted. Mostly I write young adult speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, and science fantasy), but I’ll write whatever makes me happiest, and I do it all the time.
2. What piece of writing are you most proud of?
Honestly, probably that very first novel. My pretentious twelve-year-old self titled it Age of the Apartheid and, even though it’s horrible by my current standards, I’m proud that I: 1.) finished handwriting it in elementary school and 2.) typed it up All By Myself that summer. Typing the final sentence in that story was a defining moment in my life, so I’m proud that I had the perseverance to finish.
I love writing in independent coffee shops, provided the music gives off a nice vibe or I can listen to my own without needing to crank it up too loud. I love the smell and texture of the air, the chill ambience and community, and, of course, the availability of copious amounts of caffeine.
4. Do you have any interesting quirks and/or routines you follow when writing or when you are preparing to write? What are they?
Even in our sci-fi-esque technological world, I prefer to handwrite instead of type. That’s not always possible, but when it is I grab my super cheap Bic pen, some college ruled notebook paper (usually loose leaf for shorter pieces; a notebook of some flavor for longer commitments), and have at it. I don’t mind scratching things out, and my drafts are usually total messes. And I have to edit by pen and paper. It’s a texture thing.
5. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
My answer to this question, like my answer to “What’s your favorite color?”, fluctuates depending on my mood. And the season. And if I can see any trees from where I am. But this year, I'm going with Scott Lynch, who wrote /The Lies of Locke Lamora/ and the rest of the Gentlemen Bastards series. The language of the books is both stunning and grittily real, and the characters and plots he weaves are intense. Plus he's one of the funniest, wittiest writers I've read in a long time, and it's been a while since I've had to wait so impatiently for new books in a series to come out. I highly recommend him to anyone who enjoys fantasy, con stories a la Ocean's 11, and hilarity.
6. What was the best writing experience of your life?
The best writing experience of my life, fortunately, has an instant replay button. Every time I finish another novel (which has happened fourteen times at this point, if I counted right), I’m always torn between the Stupid Grin and crying and dancing around my house singing loudly. It’s an incredibly draining, exhausting, exhilarating, and rewarding all at once. You should try it sometime to see what I mean.
7. What would you most like to improve about your writing?
I’d like to cut out all redundancies. I have roundabout ways of saying things, sometimes, and I’d like to tighten my prose as much as possible. That’s harder for me to do in academic writing than in fiction writing, honestly, because I get into my Pompous Academic mindset. I’m trying to cut back on it.
8. What advice do you have for other Wittenberg writers?
Always care. Seriously. Don’t write it off as some dumb English 101 assignment that you have no desire to do. This is your chance to say something, and practice saying it well. It’s one of the most valuable skills you can develop, and this is one of the few places in the world where other people care what you have to say. Practice caring while you still can, because there are people to help you here, and that isn’t a luxury that’s going to be in your life forever.
9. What should students know about you when they come in to visit you in the Writing Center?
I really am here to help you as much as possible. If you know something works well for you in sessions, let me know. If you know that something really doesn’t work, tell me that, too. I’m flexible, so let me know how I can be the most useful to you. You have a chunk of time All About You and Your Writing, and I don’t want to waste it.
10. What’s the best part about working in the Writing Center?
I love the all people. In the Center, I work with some of the greatest and most interesting people on campus, and I get to meet a bunch more of them every time I sit down for a session.