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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Creative Writing Club: A great outlet for writers on campus

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Saichand Chowdary
A student types on their laptop. Photo by Saichand Chowdary / Mass Media Staff.

UMass Boston is home to all sorts of student organizations, and there is certainly a wide variety available to creatives. Artists, musicians and dancers have many clubs to choose from, but what about writers? For those who struggle with visual art, writing is often a cathartic way to express emotions, and it’s even better to be around like-minded authors. Luckily, the UMass Boston Creative Writing Club is the perfect place to do so. 

The Creative Writing Club was started in the fall of 2022, and junior Kace Pharris currently runs it. The overall goal of the club, according to Pharris, is “To facilitate a community for creative writing here on campus, giving writers of any experience level a designated space for exploring the craft. [It’s] a place where we can support and learn from one another.”

The club fulfills these goals by hosting two different types of meetings. Some meetings are dedicated to writing, with a brief period of sharing afterward. The rest are dedicated specifically to sharing; students are encouraged to bring something they’ve already been working on, and they can get feedback from other writers. The meetings alternate between these types, providing a consistent structure for members.

This structure provides a lot of benefits. When faced with the challenges of a busy semester, many students struggle to find the time to write; however, having a designated space holds writers accountable for their work. It motivates them to have a piece of writing ready for the next meeting. 

The community is important as well. “Time spent around other writers is incredibly important,” Pharris says. “It creates a community of authors and fans, where you as a member are able to be both.” Constructive critique from others who understand what it’s like to be a writer is valuable, and the club provides just that for its members.

The prospect of sharing personal writing can be anxiety-inducing, but there’s no need to fear. “This is a constructive space,” club treasurer Michael Claude says. “No one is expecting the best writing. We want to experience your work and provide insight to help you out.” It’s not a place for needless critique; the club is for like-minded writers to come together and help each other. 

If the nerves are sticking around, then sharing is not required; however, Pharris claims it’s essential for improvement. “There are always new things to learn and new perspectives to be had,” he says. “Those are only obtainable when you let yourself and your craft be vulnerable.”

The Creative Writing Club has a wide range of members, covering all genres of literature. Some writers jump between multiple projects, like Pharris’ work on screenplays and poetry, but others are focused on one creation. Whether it’s fantasy, horror or even comics, each piece signifies the dedication of a passionate author. 

Claude is working on a fantasy collection. “[It’s] a collection of short stories of a man traveling in a world where no one can die or be born anymore,” he says. “I explore the different aspects this world would provide and the way people find meaning in this eternal life.” Claude agrees with the notion that the club inspires them to write more often, and being around other writers has spurred them to be more creative. 

Sophomore Alex Petrov has been working on a novel that takes place in the universe of the SCP Foundation. For those unaware, the SCP Foundation is a fictional secret organization whose goal is to study and capture various paranormal phenomena. The massive log of creatures inside the foundation is collaborative, with real Internet users around the world posting their creations to a forum.

“It follows a researcher named Victor Davenport, who has a malevolent entity living inside him that is slowly eating away at his soul,” Petrov says. He strives to cover multiple genres in the book, incorporating aspects of conspiracy, suspense and horror. Writing a novel can be a daunting task, but being surrounded by like-minded people is a major benefit.

Another club member, Yun Wong, was inspired to turn her story into a comic called “Love in Cosmos,” now available to read on Webtoon. “The plot revolves around this couple, Ai and Archer,” she says. “They seem perfect for each other, despite some people disapproving of the relationship. However, it seems their love story is older than the universe itself.” The comic portrays a blend of romance and fantasy, and her work is proof that even visual artists can benefit from a community of writers.

The Creative Writing Club meets on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the third-floor McCormack Hall, Room 0721. If it’s not possible to make in-person meetings, writers can also share their work on the club’s Discord server. A link to the Discord server is available on UMBeInvolved.