English Writing Capstone Students Publish Books
by Ashley Bradford
Undergraduate writers dream about holding a hard, published copy of their very own work. For the five writing major seniors this year— Matthew McCune, Jon Guillen, Will Rutledge, Rob Spadafore, and Amanda Bateman— this dream has already come true. For their capstone projects, they have self-published the manuscripts they wrote this semester.
Writers chose one of four genres: fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, or poetry. After writing their manuscripts, they designed their book, from the picture on the cover to the font on the page. The students submitted their works to CreateSpace, an Amazon company and a self-publishing website.
With physical copies of their very own, the seniors read pieces of their work at the writer’s festival at Pitt-Greensburg last week.
McCune said his fiction story focuses on mental and physical abuse. The main character, Ashley, must deal with breaking up with her abusive boyfriend while hiding a dark secret from her family. Ashley struggles to decide if her secret should be shared or not.
“The hardest part for me was writing the opening of the story,” McCune said. “Also the editing [was difficult]. It took many sleepless nights.”
This topic is close to him. He said he has had several friends who faced abuse.
McCune said, “I want people to know that abuse doesn’t have to be physical to be hurtful. I don’t believe it is taken as seriously as it should.”
“I kind of wanted this to bring awareness that abuse happens, but also why it’s hard to mention,” McCune said.
Guillen also wrote fiction. While trying to stay motivated to write, he wrote about a college student who is just trying to get through the week. He explained the publishing of his book as “surreal.”
“[The story] came to me after I read an article about banned substances in e-sports. It got me thinking about how hard people push themselves and why.”
Bateman’s book is a memoir called, “Tie Dye Tuesday.”
“I worked at a Girl Scout camp for four years. My memoir talks about what those years meant to me and how camping has shaped my life so far,” Bateman said. “I think people will relate to it because it’s not just about camping; it’s about growing up, too.”
She said there are a lot of things that people don’t necessarily think about that go into writing a book, such as page number placement and the line a chapter starts on.
“I’m beyond thrilled to have something published because it’s always been a dream of mine,” Bateman said.
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