Name: Ellie Fenton
Major(s), Minor(s): Double Major in Spanish and International Studies
Standing : Senior
Astrological Sign: Leo (but, if you’d prefer the Chinese Zodiac, I’m a ram/sheep/goat, depending on the translation.)
1. Other than class assignments, what kinds of things do you write or have you written?
2. What piece of writing are you most proud of?
Academically, one of my favorite pieces was my final paper for the last Spanish class that I needed for my major. It was a research paper that involved critical analyses of a few works of Puerto Rican literature (yes, in Spanish). I really loved the two short stories that I chose to analyze, so working with them in detail was what made the paper enjoyable.
Non-academically, I am most proud of my two pieces that were published last year in the Witt Review. One was a struggle to write, and I think that that shows in the piece—it is all about writer’s block, after all. The other was a creative non-fiction that I wrote for a creative writing class. Since it was a true story, I didn’t need to struggle with a topic and a plot. I was able to play with the already-established plot in my perspective and in my words.
4. Do you have any interesting quirks and/or routines you follow when writing or when you are preparing to write? What are they?
If I’m listening to music while I’m writing in English, I have to listen to songs in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Norse, Gaelic, etc. (You pick the language, I probably have a song.) If I’m writing in Spanish, however, I can’t listen to either English or Spanish music—well I mean I can; I just choose not to for the most part.
That is a very difficult question to answer because I like very different genres of writing. I enjoy short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri and Ana Lydia Vega. I like the classic American novels from Ernest Hemmingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love poetry by Pablo Neruda and Naomi Shihab Nye. I still enjoy writers like J.R.R. Tolkein and J.K. Rowling. And this is to name only a very few writers. I love pieces that Wittenbergers have written for our publications. If it’s writing that has the writer’s distinct voice, I typically enjoy it.
6. What was the best writing experience of your life?
7. What would you most like to improve about your writing?
My style. Sometimes I feel like the way I write isn’t always the voice I’d like to have. It’s especially challenging to accomplish a sense of style in a research paper, but even in creative pieces I can feel like the tone I’m trying to convey doesn’t always come across the way I intended.
8. What advice do you have for other Wittenberg writers?
There’s a plethora of advice out there for writing, but if I had to narrow it down to one tidbit, I’d say that it’s especially important to make sure that you give yourself enough time to write. Don’t sit down and tackle a 5 page paper in one night (and don’t even think about it if it’s an even longer paper). Take the time to draft, edit, re-draft, re-edit, re-draft. You can never give yourself too much time to write a paper.
9. What should students know about you when they come in to visit you in the Writing Center?
I love grammar. Love it! It’s kind of a problem, actually. And that’s because we try to focus on big-picture things in the Writing Center for first drafts (like thesis statements, organization, citations, clarity, etc.) until a writer brings in a draft that is almost final. However, despite my love of grammar, I do also enjoy talking with writers about every step of the writing process. I like to help writers brainstorm. I like talking about the backbones of a lengthy paper. I like going over word choice and sentence structure. I have a soft spot for alliterations and other literary techniques (although I don’t think I’ve used a single one in this bio). I like helping to develop theses. And even though I’m a Spanish major, I love English literature. I also really enjoy learning about new topics, so even if you bring in a philosophy or a biology assignment, I’ll enjoy talking with you about it.
10. What’s the best part about working in the Writing Center?
The atmosphere is great, the people are fabulous, and the conversations are fantastic. I get to sit around for a couple hours every day and talk about writing. What isn’t there to love? I learn something new every time I’m in the Center—I think that’s what makes it such a unique place on campus. There is a constant flow of ideas from one writer to another, and there aren’t many other places we can go to exchange ideas in the same way that the Writing Center offers.