Entering the Void

Marshall University students stepped into The Written Void Wednesday and strengthened their writing at the same time.

The Written Void gives students the opportunity to come together Wednesday nights in Smith Hall to participate in free writes, writing games and do things like peer reviewing and brainstorming. The Written Void was founded by junior creative writing major, Kat Pope, who wanted a place where English majors and non-majors could share their love for writing.

“This is year two and a half,” Pope said. Pope is the president of the organization and is joined by her creative writing peers, juniors Megan Brown and Sara Entler, who have both been members since the group’s conception.

“For me as a writer, I always like talking about books and getting other people’s opinions, as well as getting my writing out there to get more opinions and advance my skills,” Brown said.

“Your best friend as a writer will always be other writers,” Pope said. “It’s not an editor, it’s not a publisher, it’s other writers. This is the absolute best way on a college campus to get a social circle of people who are passionate about specifically this. That’s why I founded this organization, that’s why it was created with the co-founder. We wanted a place where we could meet other people who wrote that wasn’t an English class, because it’s very hard to make friends in a class where you don’t do anything but exercises.”

The group gives writers the opportunity to participate in various theme days, like fiction, non-fiction, fanfiction, theater writing and lyrical writing. Students who remain active in the group throughout a semester have the opportunity to go to writing retreats at the end of the respective school year, completely sourced by fundraising activities members host on campus.

Pope said the group updated their activities because of problems keeping interest in previous semesters. She said teachers in the English department have lent the group writing exercises they used in their classes.

“The biggest challenge we face as a group is keeping everything together and keeping members interested, because it’s not hard to become stale with an English group,” Pope said. “We had a semester where we didn’t have good leader organization and couldn’t hold subjects together.”

Pope said that Wednesday’s meeting was the largest turnout they have had for a first meeting.

“It’s nice to have new people to bounce ideas off of,” Entler said. “We know how to bounce ideas off of others to get the correct response to where we learn from it. This group also helps with things like writer’s block.”

Every meeting features an exercise and includes an optional exercise to work on throughout the week to ultimately be shared at the next week’s meeting. This week, Pope and her fellow leaders asked attendees to create an original character, give that character a setting and both static and active traits. Leaders challenged new members to write an original story featuring their new characters to present the following week. Pope said she hopes that asking members to bring something back will hopefully keep new members returning.

The Written Void’s next meeting is Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. in Smith Hall room 409.

Will Izzo can be contacted at [email protected].