Photo Credit Jan Garrison
Writing Center presents Academies' Awards
April 27, 2016

Writing is a process.

And the key to becoming a better writer is to embrace that process, author Kelcey Ervick told senior Humanities students during two classes Monday. Ervick, who is also a professor at Indiana University South Bend, led students through part of that process during her time with them. She spent the afternoon and evening at Culver as the guest presenter at the Writing Center’s annual Academies’ Awards program.

Ervick understands the process. Her book, For Sale by Owner, was a finalist for the Best Books of Indiana in 2012 and won the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award in Short Fiction.

She explained to students they shouldn’t write a single draft then quit. Instead, they should look at the first draft as a business idea. Business people take their initial concept for a new product, then revise and refine it until it is ready for market.

Writers follow a similar process, revising, cutting, or adding to their work. They may even change the point of view and the characters may switch from the protagonist to antagonist.

Ervick also talked about using rhetorical devices such as allusions and anecdotes as ways to emphasize or clarify the writer’s points. Citing George Saunders’ essay about Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, Ervick highlighted how his sentence structure emphasized the importance of what he was saying. Saunders could have easily said Forbes was a “good writer,” she explained, but by using anecdotes he amplifies that thought with the reader.

And Ervick emphasized that reading is necessary if you are going to become a better writer. Reading not only “improves your prose, it improves your mind.” When we read good writing, Ervick said, we not only become better writers ourselves, we also become better people.

2016 Academies’ Awards Winners

Overall Winner
Michael Noronha


Winner—Clare Nowalk
Hon. Mention—Daniel Woolfenden


Winner— Jacob Kanack
Hon. Mention— Yu Jin Lee

Analysis—Lit., Art, and Film

Winner— Troy Shen
Hon. Mention— Shannon Master

Analysis—History and Politics

Winner— Daniel Woolfenden
Hon. Mention— Sarah George

Short Story

Winner— Isadora Dooley Hunter
Hon. Mention— Yu Jin Lee

Poetry 9—10

Winner—Sarina McCabe
Hon. Mention—Yu (Andy) Pei

Personal Narrative 9-10

Winner— Sarina McCabe
Hon. Mention— James Armstrong

Personal Narrative 11-12

Winner— Clare Nowalk
Hon. Mention—Emma Boyer


Winner— Kary Stevick
Hon. Mention— Phil Yang


Winner—Reilly Combs
Hon. Mention — Zachary Moffett


Winner— Yuanyuan He
Hon. Mention— Wootae Jeon

Speech 9—10

Winner— Sydney Herczeg
Hon. Mention — Jozie Gregg

Speech 11—12

Winner— Yuanyuan He
Hon. Mention — Kia Vedel

Poetry 11—12

Winner— Isadora Dooley Hunter
Hon. Mention — Clare Nowalk


Winner—Michael Johnston

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