La Pluma’s upcoming fiction workshops bring artistic community together

+This+is+the+flyer+La+Pluma+has+been+using+to+promote+their+%E2%80%9CBuild-a-Story%E2%80%9Dsessions.+On+Feb.+11%2C+from+3%3A30+to+4%3A30+p.m.%2C+La+Pluma+will+host+the+first+of+a+series+of+short+story+workshops+aimed+to+provide+a+creative+haven+for+writers.+Used+with+permission+of+Yashashree+Pisolkar.
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La Pluma’s upcoming fiction workshops bring artistic community together

 This is the flyer La Pluma has been using to promote their “Build-a-Story”sessions. On Feb. 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., La Pluma will host the first of a series of short story workshops aimed to provide a creative haven for writers. Used with permission of Yashashree Pisolkar.

This is the flyer La Pluma has been using to promote their “Build-a-Story”sessions. On Feb. 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., La Pluma will host the first of a series of short story workshops aimed to provide a creative haven for writers. Used with permission of Yashashree Pisolkar.

This is the flyer La Pluma has been using to promote their “Build-a-Story”sessions. On Feb. 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., La Pluma will host the first of a series of short story workshops aimed to provide a creative haven for writers. Used with permission of Yashashree Pisolkar.

This is the flyer La Pluma has been using to promote their “Build-a-Story”sessions. On Feb. 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., La Pluma will host the first of a series of short story workshops aimed to provide a creative haven for writers. Used with permission of Yashashree Pisolkar.

Kristin Chang

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Starting on Feb. 11, the club will aid students in developing creative voice through a series of how-to workshops.

 This is the flyer La Pluma has been using to promote their “Build-a-Story”sessions. On Feb. 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., La Pluma will host the first of a series of short story workshops aimed to provide a creative haven for writers. Used with permission of Yashashree Pisolkar.

This is the flyer La Pluma has been using to promote their “Build-a-Story”sessions. On Feb. 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., La Pluma will host the first of a series of short story workshops aimed to provide a creative haven for writers. Used with permission of Yashashree Pisolkar.

At the back of the classroom, a stack of red booklets wilt on a shelf. Embossed with the cursive logo “S&S,” these slim volumes are the products of hundreds of dollars, hours of careful editing and pages of student prose. But even after the issues are delivered to literature classrooms every six weeks, the S&S literary magazines, are sometimes unnoticed, despite colorful flyleafs. Luckily, La Pluma and its staff are always brewing new ideas to include the whole community in their creative endeavors.

Their latest development is a four-part series of interactive fiction workshops, the first session to take place on Feb. 11 in Room B206, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Attendees can choose to either refine previously written pieces or start from scratch, and officers will aid with one-on-one editing, outlining, and plenty of personal feedback for eager young writers.

“We want to help build the writing community, because writing isn’t always the focus at MVHS,” La Pluma selection editor junior Samantha Shieh said. “The workshops would give people the [opportunity] to express themselves.”

Though previous La Pluma events have required a ticket or a fee of a few dollars, the short story workshops will be entirely free and open to students to all grades. Without the hinderance of admission fees, the club can stay true to its “non-exclusive” philosophy.

”This year, we are focusing more on sponsoring creative writers regardless of their being a part of the club,” La Pluma co-president senior Pooja Desai said. “[We want to] bring the community together.”

At each hour-long workshop, students will learn to develop their individuality and congregate in a community of like-minded artists. Beginning with a short lecture at the start of each session, focused on topics like plot pacing or voice, La Pluma officers will then guide students in the editing process and the integration of newly-learned elements.

Though previous La Pluma-sponsored events, such as the College Essay workshop, have been successful in attracting college-anxious seniors, the fiction workshops will rely more heavily on the artistic population. In the past, La Pluma has been pleasantly surprised by the quality of students’ creative work.

“I’ve been really surprised: People expect MVHS students to be not that interested in art, but there are so many creative people here, and a great community,” Shieh said.

At the end of the sessions, the club plans to print a special issue featuring short fiction refined during the workshop. Because La Pluma is the only conduit on campus for publishing creative writing, the club will focus more on enabling students to admire their work in print.

“So many people have the written content,” Desai said. “But they don’t know how to get their writing out there, so the workshops will be able to bring exposure to publishing.”

Though La Pluma offers only a few events throughout the year, it is their goal to provide a niche for creative writers. Besides their annual Coffeehouse, in which music, poetry readings and refreshments are offered for five dollars, La Pluma also recently hosted a “Pick a Fruit” poetry challenge on Oct. 25. Excerpts of student poetry and prose were printed on apple-shaped paper cut-outs and then hung from various trees in the academic court, where students could “pick” the poetry from the trees and share it with their friends. Several dozen students lept to reach the paper apples, intrigued by the fragments of hidden prose.

“We figured that the [activity] would be a fun way to include the whole student body in [our club,]” Shieh said. “It’s difficult for us to get a lot of publicity, but things like the [Pick-a-Fruit] challenge let people share their work.”

Now, with their workshop series ready to debut, La Pluma will be able to publicize their S&S literature magazines while encouraging more students submit to the website. Though La Pluma does not open its meetings to students who are not officers, they hope that after-school writing “salons” will help students feel more involved in the complex literary process.

“Really, creative writing should be taught in a class,” Shieh said. “There is a concrete science to writing fiction, and it’s more academic than people think.”

By viewing creative writing as a science that can be perfected, the club encourages students to master technical elements and demystify the artistic process. La Pluma’s philosophy is that learning to write is not merely an act of listening, but an interactive process in which technique can be explored with precision and clarity.

“By the end of the workshops,” La Pluma officer senior Abhi Vaidyanatha said. “[Students] will be able to create their own pieces through interaction between writers.”

While La Pluma may often feel forgotten on campus, where the number of STEM clubs outweigh the number of humanities clubs, their upcoming workshop series announces a renewed presence. With each slim volume of S&S, hundreds of students are exposed to the fruit of student artistry: stories and voices that may have otherwise remained hidden behind textbooks.

“Together, we can discover the science of writing,” Desai said. “More than anything, we want to provide a place for people who like to write and need to write.”