(Acclaimed author Jun Cruz Reyes emphasizing a point. Photo by Amparo Klarin J. Mangoroban)

October 31, 2015, 3:43p.m. – THE COUNTRY’S top poets and fictionists urged aspiring young writers to broaden their horizons and move away from the conventions of the written word during the Varsitarian’s Creative Writing Workshop on Oct. 24-25 at the Tan Yan Kee Student Center.

“Marami pang mga hindi nasusulat sa Pilipinas,” award-winning author Jun Cruz Reyes said, adding that aside from the traditional style of fiction common among budding writers, there are other kinds of fiction that could be explored, including graphic literature, young adult fiction, science fiction and thriller.

Writers should not limit themselves to the kind of writing their peers are used to, he said. “Ano ang bago rito?” Reyes asked. “Kaya ka [nga] nagsusulat dahil hindi pa nila nagagawa ang ginawa mo.”

According to Reyes, writers should also be more attentive to the issues of their generation. “Sa pagitan ng bahay mo at UST, isang buong mundo ang pwede mong unawain,” he said.

Fictionist Francezca Kwe said writers tend to write formulaic stories since they are exposed to a lot of different materials. Writers’ perspectives must be polished and the strongest ones “pick up what others don’t see,” she added.

“Ang kalaban natin is ‘yung expected na, [at ito ang] kailangan nating lampasan,” Kwe said.

National Book Award winner Alvin Yapan urged the Varsitarian fellows to “analyze themselves as writers.” He said a writer has to examine his or her artistic influences to develop and heighten their taste. 

In addition, a writer must explore the philosophical question that piques his or her interests, said Ateneo de Manila professor Danilo Francisco Reyes.

Meanwhile, for a dialogue to be believable, it has to reflect the sensibilities of the subculture the story portrays, said Eros Atalia, Faculty of Arts and Letters professor and associate of the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies.

Discussing poetry, Palanca winner Carlomar Daoana raised the importance of the poet’s awareness on how to blend the concrete and abstract elements of a poem.  

Allan Pastrana, another Palanca winner, said the poet must also be “conscious of the aural part of the poem” and that one must put his or her pieces into perspective. 

Fictionist Paolo Enrico Melendez challenged the writing fellows to write pieces that tackle the contemporary human condition. “Capturing the sense of the [author’s] generation is how past writers came to be known,” he said.

This year’s 16 fellows were Roy Narra, Elizabeth Anthony, John Louise Sahagun, Ira Minella Milag, Jolau Ocampo, Ma. Doreen Evita Garcia, Celine Marie Garcia, Cedric Allen Sta. Cruz, Jessica Tinao, John Michael Espino, Johannah Mari Felicilda, George Deoso, Jan Dennis Destajo, Jan Reitchelle Atanacio, Paulo Miguel Gabuat, and Nicole Alize Dayrit. Zenmond G. Duque II


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