Dragons, poets unite at fiction writing club

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Photo Credit: Ella Williams | Daily Texan Staff

From writing urban fantasies to poetry to Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, students in the fiction writing organization All-Write All-Write All-Write are able to create stories and build worlds with the help of their peers.

The meetings, held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday in Mezes 1.208, are open to all students interested in fiction writing. It’s a place for students to meet other writers, gain valuable feedback on their work and learn about opportunities for publication.

English junior Alex Taylor and Anna Dolliver, an English and Chinese junior, became friends through their freshman year English and creative writing classes. They started the club in 2016 as an unofficial substitute for creative writing classes, mostly so people who couldn’t fit UT’s creative writing certificate program could still have a group to discuss their work with.

“We really encourage collaborative writing, since often writers may find themselves working alone,” Dolliver said. “It’s helpful to get feedback and to start getting your work out there.”

Each meeting begins with writing prompts — a few words, a quote and a photo — and a 10-minute freewrite so that anyone who didn’t prepare material in advance can participate in discussion. Then the group leaders, Taylor, Dolliver and Sam Scheffler, rhetoric and writing senior, showcase a publication that is accepting submissions.

Taylor said they try to talk about a wide range of opportunities in fiction writing and that they remain open to other types of writing, including nonfiction.

“We have a little bit of a bias just because of the kind of stuff we write,” Taylor said. “But we try to cover a broad category of things so we’re not just a horror writing club or a fantasy writing club.”

English sophomore Justin Terry joined the group about a month ago so that he would have people who hold him accountable to finish the fantasy stories he’s started.

“From the time I could hold a pen I’ve been writing, but I’ve never been able to really finish anything,” Terry said. “I’ve been getting more serious about it lately and I figured that having a group around me would keep me accountable, help me finish it and give some good feedback.”

According to Dolliver, the meetings are usually quiet because a lot of writers are fairly introverted. She said the setup of the meetings allows the students a lot of free time to get to know each other and read through everyone’s work.

“We’ve found that even though the context of the meeting may be a bit quieter and there may be a lot of introverts coming, they really enjoy getting to form new friendships with writers and getting to share their work,” Dolliver said.

The founders wanted to give students the same opportunities they had during the writing workshops that are offered through the creative writing certificate program at UT. Dolliver said she hopes the club inspires students to join the certificate program, but she’s happy to provide a space for those who can’t or don’t want to.

“We had talked to some other writers and found out that sometimes people just can’t fit the creative writing certificate into their schedule, or they’re interested in writing but don’t want to commit to something that large just yet, so we decided to start this,” Dolliver said.

While writing is solitary to an extent, it’s always better to get feedback. Taylor said All-Write All-Write All-Write is willing to help out any writers seeking assistance or a writing community.

“Everyone’s welcome to come, and I would strongly encourage any writers interested in meeting more writers to attend our meeting,” Taylor said.