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“How to catch interest with just a title” — An Interview with Students from Young Harris College

March 14, 2022

This week, students from Jen Julian’s creative writing classes at Young Harris College will be reading our submission queue alongside our submissions editors! Read our interview with the students to learn more about who they are and what they like.

Who are you?

We are bookworms and young writers living in the desolate Western Carolina Mountains; we are twenty years old, following the traditions of the people in this valley; we are a Swede, a traveler, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer; we are Rebecca Baker (who is maybe a seagull, but not really), Josephine Brookes (who was named after her grandmother), Eli (aspiring creative writer). Addisyn (a person), and Sarah Beth Williams.

Where are you from?

We are from a nation by the Baltic sea, across the salty Atlantic; Coastal California, where everything is paler; a bumpy stretch of the mudball Earth called the Blue Ridge Mountains; Monroe, Georgia, in a state that is known for growing peaches but grows more peanuts.

Who are your favorite writers?

Writers we love, in no particular order: William Butler Yeats, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, Kjell Enhager, Astrid Lindgren, Sarah J. Maas, Kristin Cast, Diana Gabaldon, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, Emily Dickenson, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, Chris Weitz, Toni Morrison, Leigh Bardugo, Ross Gay, Anne Lamott, Natalie Diaz, Jim Butcher, Pierce Brown, Marissa Meyer, Kiera Cass, and L.M. Montgomery.

What is your favorite SmokeLong story and why?

“Sweetie” by J.V. Skuldt. We loved the stream-of-consciousness technique, how the sentences flowed and jumped from one point to the next without making it feel disconnected. More broadly, we are fans of the macabre, and stories that are fantastical, but at the same time rooted in the real world. Other SmokeLong favorites include: “The Bear of Goffstown” by Sarah Fannon, “The Larvae of Tree-dwelling Species Stay Where They Hatch” by Janna Miller, and “Endings” by Daniel Kuo. We never know what the ending is and it keeps us awake at night.

What do you hope to learn from reading the submission queue?

How to catch interest with just a title; how to create a world and tell a story in just a few hundred words; new techniques from other writers; new topics and writing styles we have not yet tried to tackle. We also hope to learn how the submission process works, since we haven’t really submitted much writing before, and this might help us be less anxious about submitting our own writing in the future. Big picture, we want to learn what the writing world can be like after college. The movies don’t really cover careers like this. We’re like cryptids, slinking off into the shadows.

Anything else you’d like to add?

A few things: nuclei are underrated; napping at least once a day is good for your mental health; you should always keep reading and writing—and most of all, we are thankful for this opportunity!

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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Register Now! Begin October 1!

SmokeLong Fitness is the Ongoing Community Workshop of SmokeLong Quarterly. This asynchronous workshop happens on our dedicated workshop site. You will work in small groups of around 12 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft.