Saturday, September 24, 2022

My Wacky Senior Project


Like a surprising number of writers, I have a technical background. Or maybe it isn't surprising for those of us with an interest in sci-fi and fantasy stories since the nerd/geek overlap is pretty heavy in those fandoms. In any case, my college degree is in mathematics and I've always had a bit of an analytical bent, which helps me with the business side of writing, but not the creative part so much.

However, I don’t believe I would be a published writer if it weren’t for my college education. Though I’d always been an avid reader, I had written very little fiction before taking a creative writing class in college. That class opened my eyes to the art of writing in ways I had never experienced before. I considered changing my major at that point, but I wasn't excited about adding another year of schooling to my degree. So instead I remained a math major, and simply took every class on creative writing that I could fit into my schedule.

My alma mater also had an interesting senior thesis/senior project format, in that seniors were allowed to choose any "substantial work" as their project as long as they had a professor to guide it. I had friends who made movies or wrote and directed plays for their senior project, so it was not a stretch at all for me to write a novel--especially since I had a great relationship with my creative writing instructor. It was a little out there for a math major to choose a creative project, but technically allowed. (The head of the math department pointed out that it wouldn't help me get into grad school, but since grad school wasn't my goal...*shrug*)

I'm not particularly proud of the novel I wrote that year--it was poorly plotted melodrama, with strangely flat characters. Frankly my writing skills were still in their formative stage, and when I think about my books that will never see the light of day, that one tops the list. Still, writing it--especially under the guidance of a mentor, with regular check-ins on my progress--was an incredible learning experience, and helped me become the writer I am today.

So even though my degree doesn't obviously have anything to do with my writing, I still give my college experience a lot of credit for nurturing my interest in creative writing and literature.

Jaycee Jarvis is an award winning fantasy romance author, who combines heartfelt romance with immersive magical worlds. When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her spouse, three children, and a menagerie of pets.

Find her at

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