Ross School - Senior Projects 2011
Mentor: Alexandra Cromwell
Title: The Writer, the Pianist, and Other Stories
The Writer and the Pianist and Other Stories is a collection of short stories of various lengths. I wrote them with the intention of pursuing my interest in writing and furthering my ability to compose and edit. I feel that I have been successful in these pursuits and that I have delved into the improvement of the themes in my writing. I did not choose one theme about which to write with the intention of exploring vastly different themes.
When I began my project, I intended to write a novel. Mr. Dunn dispelled this idea by pointing out that writing a collection of short stories would give me more freedom. If, for example, I decided that I was unsatisfied with a topic, it would be much easier to entirely re-write a story than half of a novel. I ultimately did entirely re-write one of my stories, so I was happy that the story was only a few pages long when I decided to discard it.
Whenever I thought of a plot or a concept that I was pleased with, I would write it in as few sittings as possible, often spending five hours on a weekend day writing.
Editing was not particularly difficult for me, as I have a habit of obsessing over each sentence as I write, rather than writing simply with the intention of reaching the end of each story. When I finished a story, I would hand it to Ms. Cromwell, my mentor, to edit.
I generally avoid discussing the plot to a story with another individual until I have finished it, but there were a few times when I felt confused and asked Ms. Cromwell to discuss the potential options for stories that I had not yet finished.
When Ms. Cromwell had finished editing one of my stories, I would look over her corrections and make the necessary changes.
One of the most disconcerting elements of the process was one of the stories, Dashing Through the Forest, which neither Ms. Cromwell nor I was particularly pleased with. At one point, I had planned to include the story simple because of time constraints—I felt that the collection would include too few stories without the addition of this one. At the last minute, I had the inspiration to write another story to replace it.
Chekhov, Anton. A Night in the Cemetery. New York: Pegasus Books LLC, 2008.
—. The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904. London: Penguin Group, 2002.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Modern Library, 2001.
Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. London: Penguin Group, 2009.
Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2009.
Von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. The Sorrows of Young Werther. London: Penguin
Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. , 2003.
—. The House of Mirth. Modern Library, 1999.
Richard Dunn, Advanced Placement English teacher at the Ross School.