Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Other Psychology | Psychology
The main goal of this Capstone Project is to create a collection of short stories whose amalgamation is more poignant than the sum of its part. One purpose of writing is to leave the reader with an emotional punch, to give them a catharsis for new or even familiar sensations. Each story should be able to stand on its own as a pleasurable, or at least captivating, experience. Each piece should manipulate the reader to feel certain ways, whether hopeful, anxious, uncomfortable, or just moved. I do hope, however, that the experience of reading the entire collection is more powerful than reading each story on its own.
The eight stories demonstrate a range of styles and tones while sharing a similar intent and voice. Some began as experiments, and others were conceived with full knowledge of their meaning. A few pieces that I intended to play significant roles in the Capstone have been cut in favor of newer and more diverse stories. However each piece came to be, this project and the maturation of my writing have transformed the collection as a whole to unite in purpose. What I have produced is a cohesive and representative body of my current work.
A theme that threads the eight pieces together is endurance. How does one recover from the pain of the past in enough to weather the present? How does one ignore the burden of emotional baggage without forgetting his or her own history? The bulk of the major events in my stories happen off-screen. The reader does not explicitly witness any death, disillusionment, or heartbreaks. Instead, the reader watches as the characters pick themselves up and try to continue on as best they can. Some are more successful than others at recuperating from such dark and agonizing backgrounds. Others find the struggle too daunting, the realities of their lives too gritty.
Although I consider myself to be a writer, that label is an umbrella term. I am a short story writer. Since I’ve begun writing, I have dipped into screenplays, theatre, and novels occasionally. For this Capstone, I have returned to my forte, to the short story. I prefer to show snapshots of life, of everyday existence. One’s character is most authentically displayed in the day to day survival of disappointments and the celebration of small victories. In the face of grave circumstances or great change, it’s hard to know whether a person’s actions are a result of his or her character or of the situation. This is why I enjoy exploring human nature through short stories and glimpses – one can learn an awful lot about people when no one else is watching.
Picard, Lauren, "The Third Incident of JP Mercer a collection of short fiction" (2008). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 513.
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