All posts tagged: University of California Davis

A Few Adjustments

Image: Molly Montgomery Last week in my writing workshop, my fiction professor drew a triangle on a whiteboard, which she sectioned off into levels, to represent a pyramid. On the bottom level, she wrote: clarity, meaning and sense. On the next level up, she placed character, dialogue, and setting, then further up, point of view and voice. She explained each level in turn, topping off the pyramid with symbol and theme. Often, she told us, novice writers find their intended message for the story and write from the top down, but that’s not how good storytelling works. You need to construct the story from the bottom up, and let the complexity of symbolism and thematic motifs develop organically from the foundations of your language, your characters, and your plot. Perhaps this seems like an obvious statement, but for me, it was a new way of thinking about writing. Writing has always been instinctive to me. In college, I took creative writing workshops and I thought about the craft of writing, but in those courses we …

Molly Montgomery Introduction (University of California, Davis ’18)

Image: Loren Kerns At seventeen years old, I was certain of two things: first, I wanted to be a writer and second, I knew that to write well I needed to go outside of my bubble and have new life experiences. For some reason, probably glossy marketing pamphlets from out-of-state universities, I thought this necessitated leaving California, where I had spent all my life. I was convinced that living somewhere with snow and harsh weather would somehow be good for my character and help me develop resilience that translates into better writing. That’s why I tried to “escape” California when I was applying to college. It didn’t work. Out of the programs that accepted me, the one that I liked the best and that offered me the best financial aid was UCLA— still in California, albeit in Southern California, which I told myself was practically a different state entirely from the San Francisco Bay Area where I grew up. At UCLA, I continued to write, but more importantly, I gained life experience that expanded my …