Writing Lessons: David Bersell

In our Writing Lessons series, writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. This week, we hear from David Bersell, a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire. David’s work has also appeared in Soundings ReviewVolume 1 BrooklynThe Good Men Project, and Carry On. You can follow him @DavidBersell. —Andrew Ladd, Blog Editor

David Bersell_HeadshotAfter “Same Again” from Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Fynn.

What’s working? we say. Voice we say. Attitude. Wit. Image. Description. Physical description. We say killed me. Punched me in the face, then hugged me. Literally cried. Beautiful, I mean it. I’m jealous. I’m in love. I want to know more. Laughed so hard my stomach hurt. A jump. A step. We say genre. Memoir. Essay. Literary Journalism. Lyric. We say post genre. Collage. Montage. Braid. Quilt. I don’t know what it means, but I like the way it sounds. Gross, but not too gross. The goat. That lip ring. I hate him, but that’s a good thing. What if we didn’t know your background? Sorry, what if we didn’t know the writer’s background. It reminds me of something we say. Didion. Woolf. We say Fourth State of Matter. Like a song. A fairytale. A dream. We say what’s not working? We say I know it must be hard to write about. We say but. Maybe. Unbalanced. Undeveloped. Uneven. The title. The section titles. I don’t mean to sound mean. A moment I wasn’t sure what to do with. Too many trees. We say unearned. Twee. Ham-fisted. Beach read. Blockbuster. Racist? American clown. It begs a question we say. It made me work for it we say. Not in a good way we say. What’s another way to say it? Break it down. Structure. Square one. What’s the word? I don’t think I’m explaining myself correctly. A quest. A journey. A shift. A change. Unresolution is resolution. Everything is a choice. You can’t go wrong with a list. We say cut. We say rework. I know it’s not the way it happened but. Don’t apologize. Don’t try to write pretty sentences. Character we say. No villains. Love him like a friend. We say dialogue. Action, action, action. What if? Another way to take it. Add on. Or. And. Also. It’s a fine line. Wait, I changed my mind. Just an idea. An option. One last comment we say. Don’t fall in love with the semicolon. Publishable with revision. Six more hours. A few more days. Keep pushing. We say bar? We say happy hour. The cheaper the better. The waffle fries. Not the place that smells like feet. We say pitcher? We say what do you have on draft? That’s what I needed we say. Ahh we say. What did you think of class? What did she mean? What’s your revision plan? We say last writing question. Submission. Query. Elevator pitch. One more we say. Success we say. One day.

To submit your own essay to Writing Lessons, read our guidelines here.

No related content found.

We are always looking for great work. Have you considered submitting to Ploughshares?

About Andrew Ladd

Andrew Ladd is the blog editor for Ploughshares, and his work also has appeared in Apalachee Review, CICADA, Memoir Journal, Paper Darts, and The Rumpus, among others. His first novel, What Ends, was the winner of the 2012 AWP Prize in the Novel, and will be published in January 2014 by New Issues Press. He grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has since lived in Boston, Montreal, and London; currently he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and cat. Follow him on Twitter @agoodladd.
This entry was posted in Writing Lessons and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Writing Lessons: David Bersell

  1. Rhonda Browning White says:

    You’re speaking my language, David Bersell! Wonderful essay!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <div align="" class="" dir="" id="" lang="" style="" xml:lang=""> <embed style="" type="" id="" height="" width="" src="" object=""> <iframe width="" height="" frameborder="" scrolling="" marginheight="" marginwidth="" src=""> <img alt="" align="" border="" class="" height="" hspace="" longdesc="" vspace="" src="" style="" width="" title="" usemap=""> <map name="" area="" id=""> <object style="" height="" width="" param="" embed=""> <param name="" value=""> <pre style="" name="" class="" lang="" width="">