Monthly Archives: October 2016

My Story Episode: Carli Hanson, Editing Minor, Communications Minor, and Intern Galore

English Society Logo

Episode 18 of the BYU English Society’s podcast, My Story, features Carli Hanson, a first in family BYU student, passionate editing student looking forward to a future in Marketing. Carli shared with us experiences she has had as an intern for Nutrigold, Hope4Utah, and Mind the Gap Worldwide. Carli shared her appreciation for the English Major and the skills that it teaches. She also offered her best advice to those looking to move towards internship opportunities. Carli also shared some of the applications that came about from her experience in the English Major and Editing Minor. If you want to know all about getting in to internships play the podcast embedded above, and please check out all our episodes featuring stories of applying one’s English by visiting the BYU English Society SoundCloud page.

Carli’s Interview

Mind the Gap Worldwide:

Editing Minor:
Communications Minor:



Episode 17 of the BYU English Society’s podcast, My Story, features Kate Neish, a stay at home mom, English Major, and 2015 English Symposium participant. Kate graduated just a few months ago, and shortly thereafter welcomed her first son into the world. Kate overcame every obstacle as a pregnant student, and made it through with flying colors. Her background in English has given her a unique approach to motherhood as she likens great literature to her life. Kate has always been passionate about English, but starter her time at BYU as a Music Major. Eventually she found her way home and decided to switch to the English Major, and focus on the art of literature. Kate said that in choosing the English Major, “learning was [her] objective” and now her communication, reasoning, and analytical skills are deeper and more easily applied. Play the podcast embedded above, and please check out all our episodes featuring stories of applying one’s English by visiting the BYU English Society SoundCloud page.

Kate’s Interview

A Creative Writer’s Survival Guide to College (Part 2)

Ahh we’re back! I’m sure by now you are all well on your ways to becoming the next Stephen Kings and J. K. Rowlings, but in case you could still use a little nudge, welcome to part two! Jumping right in…

Jumping in Waimea Bay

#5 Make time to read in your genre.

Last week we talked about things that will help you hone your craft and write more often. But the life of a Creative Writer is also filled with reading. If you are studying in college, most of the required books will be classics.

There are two types of classics: the type you read for class, and the type you read to show off and sound smart. Yes I’m talking to you, person who claims to enjoy reading To the Lighthouse. Now sure, I love a Keatsian sonnet as much as the next fellow, but I’ve got to be honest; Faulkner, Joyce, Eliot, and Austen put me to sleep faster than a high-councilman’s Sunday sermon. Unfortunately, you probably need to get used to reading this stuff if you want to be an English major. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be educated, and reading the classics can help your writing, but don’t forget to read what’s hot in your genre as well. Do yourself a favor and pick up the latest bestseller every once in a while. It will keep you up to date, and give you something to read that you can actually enjoy before SparkNotes-ing it.


#6 Don’t get discouraged.


Perhaps you’ve been reading Middlemarch or Ulysses and think to yourself: “Wow, how can I ever write something like that?!” (In my opinion, why would you ever want to write something like that? Please, do us all a favor). Regardless, I understand the weight and pressure of literature. We have been taught early on that there is a distinction between the cannon and the common. Who are we to even try to compete? Well frankly, yeah you’re right. Our first books will probably be worth less than the worthless paper they are printed on, but never underestimate the power of practice! All of these famous authors from Whitman to Rowling and Shakespeare to Shelley had to start somewhere. And so do we. Don’t view crumpled balls of paper as failures, but as foundational practices of budding creativity.


#7 Do things that will help you get a job.

working people

Recently Forbes listed Creative Writing as one of the top 17 most unemployed majors. Don’t panic, don’t panic… and get used to eating Top-Ramen. Anyway, that is why it’s critical to start networking now. Try to apply for an internship that has a media or editing position open, ideally at a publishing company or such. You could also try to get a part time job with a news group or online magazines. Even though some of these you might have to work without pay, just remember a little proactivity and networking now can mean the difference between having a job or not when you graduate. Also, don’t end your ambitions with the local opportunities, there are also study-abroads and internships overseas that you could apply for. The Wordsworth Trust is one example.


#8 Remember, you have an amazing major.

do the math

As Percy Bysshe Shelley once penned: “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” How cool is that. From film to fantasy and science fiction, writing and writers aren’t going anywhere. Sure it might be more difficult now than ever, but there are also more opportunities than ever. When you start to lose sight of that vision, pick up one of your favorite books and imagine what would happen if that author had given up before he finished. Yes, the road we are called to walk is filled with unseen abysses, dead ends, and drop-offs, but as Thomas Paine wrote: “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” Keep writing friends and the world will eventually sing with the words you wrote.


That concludes my survival tips, but join me next time when I’ll talk about all my favorite things in writing!

–Paul Guajardo

A Creative Writer’s Survival Guide to College

It’s 1 a.m. and your eyes are about as droopy as the leftover spaghetti you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your computer screen displays exam reviews for amyloplasts, bifacial cambiums, and columella cells, but you can’t even remember what a trichinae is or what it has to do with botany. You long for sleep and after running out of the study comfort food you keep on hand; you decide to just take a little nap.

The next day is full of classes and deadlines, and, if you are taking English, a few papers for good measure. There’s that research project you should be working on, homework that you forgot is due tonight, a friend who tries to get you to go out, and myriad other tasks that keep piling up higher than the trash can in your dorm. (Which reminds me I should really take that out some time… Ah maybe next week!)

Falling Asleep During Class

Essentially this is college. Gone are the days when you could write for hours uninterrupted, had food magically appear in the family fridge, and your high school homework was a joke. There are real commitments now, and things you used to enjoy doing are now thrown in among the metaphorical pile of dirty laundry.

So how do you make time for the things you love? Unless you are majoring in creative writing, (which you can’t here at BYU) you’ll be pulled a hundred different ways during the day, but lets be honest that novel isn’t gonna write itself.

What you have before you in this Survival Guide are my years (weeks) of expert experience in this field (this is my first semester too). This guide has been heavily researched (I wrote it at 2 a.m. last night) and is guaranteed (no refunds though) to make your creative writing life 100x better (give or take two zeros).


#1 Take a Creative Writing Class, and if You Can’t, Join a Club or Literary Magazine.


School is full of commitments. It tries to take your time, energy, sleep, friends, fun, family, country, life… *ahem*. Granted, for most of your first two years your classes will be on archaic subjects and obscure information you’ll never actually use in real life *Cough* microbiology *Cough* math. Hey we’re English majors not engineers, so I can say that! The easiest was to make sure you have time to write is to make it one of your classes. There’s no getting out of it then, you’ll really have to commit. Some of my best short stories were written for a CW class the night before a deadline.
Still if you can’t fit that into your schedule, you should really consider joining a CW club. These are great. No deadlines, nice peers, interesting group discussions, and best of all, FREE* FOOD!

#2 Find Your Routine.


How is it that I can still find time to binge watch Doctor Who, but can’t write a page of fiction or poetry? Well probably because I don’t have this whole college thing figured out yet, but more importantly, because I haven’t allocated my time correctly. If you can watch Youtube, stalk that cute person you think is in your ward on Facebook, or Netfilx and… eat popcorn, you can definitely find time to write. It’s all about getting in a habit and remembering what matters most. For some people that time might be in the middle of the night, others in the morning, me personally I always have the most poetic angst when that super gorgeous girl rejects me. Ha. Haha. Those aren’t tears; they’re just a lot of eye sweat. Jokes on her though, I have a super good limerick after that.

#3 Or, Keep a Regular Journal


Who says journal entries can’t count as creative writing? Journaling can be good for your children, handwriting, sanity, and cholesterol. True story. But seriously, when adventure turns up in your own life, be sure to record it instead of ignore it! Imagine what would have happened if Bilbo and Frodo hadn’t recorded their experiences! Why we would be out of four great books and, and 6… well there would be six less movies. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

#4 Eavesdrop°


So you’re on your way to that super boring history class, when you over hear the most bizarre conversation happening to your left. Most respectable people would tell you to mind your own business and ignore it, but we’re creative writers. We sold all our respect when we took a vow of poverty with our career path. Listen in, write it down, and use it in a story. I give you permission too. Sometimes you’ll come across unique gems, for example, I was walking in the JFSB when I heard someone say into a phone; “I’m not going to torture it, it’s just a snail!!” Beautiful. Simply beautiful. I have no idea what in the Krusty Krab it was about, but still, that line will show up in one of my stories.

Join me next time for part two!

-Paul Guajardo


*I am not to be held accountable if your writing group is lame and does not provide vitals. But really if they don’t I would go to a different group. Just sayin’…
°Remember, I am not responsible, legally or otherwise, for any criminal charges of stalking, creeping, or encroaching upon peoples privacy. (But lets be honest the government already does it all the time.)

Reviews and Recommendations: Cyrano

By: Starla Eckhardt
Cyrano 1
Many English majors may have heard of the play Cyrano de Bergerac, written in 1897 by French playwright Edmond Rostand. Cyrano, a genius poet and amazing swordsman, struggles with his feelings for the beautiful Roxanne. He lets the handsome Christian take credit for his beautiful letters to her because Cyrano fears that Roxanne would reject him due to his large, ugly nose. BYU’s Young Company, a theatre troop that specializes in abridging and performing classic plays for younger audiences, is currently performing their own version of the classic tale.
    As all Young Company productions are performed in under an hour, they cut some sub-plots and modernize some of the language so it is more accessible to those who have not studied these texts. This performance of Cyrano is very successful and effective in the love story as well as the love of language and rhetoric. This is a major theme of the play (one I’m sure any English major can relate to and would love to watch).
Cyrano 2
    The beginning of the play jumps right into the action as Cyrano (John Walker) gives his famous monologue making fun of his own nose. During this opening act, we are introduced to Cyrano’s mastery of word and rhetoric as he wittily praises Roxanne, makes fun of himself, and ridicules others. When he meets Christian (Bryson Stewart), the man that Roxanne has fallen for, a musical montage ensues, showing Cyrano writing many beautiful love letters on the skill level of Alexander Hamilton. As the mood grows darker in the end of Act 3, Cyrano becomes more frantic in his letters and artful use of rhetoric until the emotions and action climax. The last love letter that Cyrano at the end of the play reads makes the heart melt and tears fall.
    Overall, this play truly inspires a passion for writing and skilled rhetoric in one’s heart. I would recommend that all English students buy a ticket and soak in the beautiful poetry. Remaining performances run at 7 PM this next Wednesday through Friday (October 5th-7th) with two final performances on Saturday, October 8th at 2 PM and 4 PM.
    The BYU English Society will also be sponsoring a Dramatic Reading of Cyrano on October 13th in F430 of the HFAC from 6-8 PM. We will be reading through the most relevant scenes of Cyrano de Bergerac and discussing the differences between the performance and the text. A PDF version can be found online if you bring an electronic device. Come and fall in love with language and rhetoric all over again!

My Story Episode: Lindsay Owens, Digital Humanities Minor


Episode 16 of the BYU English Society’s podcast, My Story, features Lindsay Owens, an English Major with a Minor in the Digital Humanities. Lindsay has always had a passion for writing and creating websites so she decided that she would combine the two and make her dreams a reality. When she faced opposition as she studied programming she decided to change to print and web publishing. As a result of her Digital Humanities Minor she added two more minors one in Graphic Design and another in Creative Writing. Lindsay is taking on the world of web design one print publish at time, and showing the skills that the English Major has given her. With the approach of graduation Lindsay is excited to explore the world of digital humanities even more, and she invites you to do the same! Play the podcast embedded above, and please check out all our episodes featuring stories about how to apply your English Major by visiting the BYU English Society SoundCloud page.

Lindsay’s Interview

My Story episode: Katie Bowman, Shakespeare Intern in the UK

Episode 15 of the BYU English Society’s podcast, My Story, features Katie Bowman, a former acting major turned English major who has done well with extracurriculars. Katie shared with us her experience spent working with English professor Dr. Frank Christiansen as an ORCA-funded researcher. She also told us about her time in Stratford-Upon-Avon in England where she worked as an intern for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in the summer of 2016. Play the podcast embedded above, and please check out all our episodes featuring stories of applying one’s English by visiting the BYU English Society SoundCloud page.

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