Writers of Irvington High: Mandy Liu

I’m Mandy Liu, and I’m in 11th grade. 

I really like writing because it allows me to have the creative space to come up with new ideas.  I think I started writing around some time in middle school, because during that time I read a lot of books and also got into a lot of TV shows and other forms of media. That really got me thinking into creating alternate universes around them. I tend to write stuff inspired by what I’m currently watching or interested in. For example, if I was really into some sort of Sci-Fi show, I might get an idea for creating a sci-fi related story. 

There’s this animation I really like called Darara. What I found really interesting about Darara is that it doesn’t have a linear narrative in that the events don’t happen in chronological order, so you’re basically forced to pick up the pieces by yourself. Then at the end you sort of have an “Aha!” moment. So when I watched that show, I was inspired to do a similar thing with my writing and to start writing in nonlinear parts, and then have all my components of the story come back together at the very end. I submitted a story inspired by Darara to the Penchant. It was about a world where people don’t have names, and they’re basically differentiated by their occupations or their jobs. It was a narrative of five different people where it looked into their lives but it doesn’t happen at the same time. 

 When I’m coming up with my stories, I’m more attached to the characters than the plot because you can have a really good plot but still have really bad characterization. Even if the plot is something really common, like, for example, realistic fiction is very common, but if you have really good characters, you can still draw people in. It’s definitely hard to come up with a personality that’s distinct, that also stands out and draws readers in.

The hardest part about writing is definitely getting the inspiration to keep going. Honestly the only way I get over writer’s block is to start writing. Even if it feels really weird or it feels like I’m forcing the words out, I just have to open a Google Doc and start writing because if I don’t write and I wait for inspiration to hit me, it’s going to take forever, and I’m not going to touch this document for another ten years. 

Also, having somebody give feedback is really helpful in becoming a better writer because there are often times where you might not see an error in your writing, but there are better ways to write it that other people can show you. Bonus tip: find your most brutal friend to rip your writing apart.