An Evening of Storytelling: How to Build a Better Writing Community

The Writers of COD club hosted their second event and welcomed participants to An Evening of Storytelling.

Bee Bishop, Managing Editor

For any individual who is looking to pursue a writing career, the Writers of COD may be the club for you. The club is composed of a  group of writers who help each other grow and focus on becoming a communal support network for each other. 

On April 8, the club hosted “An Evening of Storytelling,” their second event within the 2021-2022 school year. The club hosted an Open Mic event last semester. Lydia Avery, the club’s PR manager and main organizer behind the event, said the plan for the event was to draw in people who might be interested in joining the club. 

“I wanted to make it more specific. Open mic was a fun thing, but I think just calling an open mic made it a little too vague,” Avery said. “Calling it an ‘Evening of Storytelling’ really brought the people that would be interested in our club or people who would enjoy listening to stories.”

MJ Dillon, a Writers of COD club officer, said inspiration also came from wanting to connect with people and devote time to the craft of writing.

“We wanted to create a safe space where any COD student could come and share their work and ideas and meet like-minded people,” Dillon said. “In college, it’s important to divert time to the arts. Often as students we get lost in our studies, and it’s vital to let our creative minds flourish.”

Photo by Bee Bishop. Pictured: Emcee Ariko Kaba

The order of presenters were chosen at random, with presenters putting their names into a cup and drawn randomly. Each presenter had 5 to 7 minutes to read their piece. People read everything from original short fiction, to poems and even academic essays. One presenter read an original short horror story he had written specifically for the event.  Another read an academic paper about the ethics and qualification of architecture that they had been working on for a while. 

After the reading was over, people grouped together and began conversations with one another about what they thought of each person’s pieces. Madeleine Church said that this was her favorite part of the event. 

“It was that feeling of elation at having taken a risk and been rewarded,” Church said. “People were complimenting each other’s works. It was a great atmosphere.”

Dillon agreed. 

“The best part is after all the stories have been read and the writers discuss their inspirations and ideas,” Dillon said. “This is when the magic of writing happens as we bounce ideas off one another.” 

Avery stressed the importance of moments like that, saying it strengthens bonds between people and helps create a support system. 

“I think it helps create a community for people who enjoy listening to stories,” she said. “For somebody like me, coming into COD especially during the pandemic, I didn’t really have a lot of people that I could connect with over that passion of writing.”

Photo by Bee Bishop
Pictured: Presenter Madeline Church

The Writers of COD club will continue hosting events like this in the future. Church said events like these would help bring the COD community together.

“A lot of people write,” she said. “A lot of people like it. So it’s a great way to knit the community closer together. To alleviate any fears anybody has in joining the club or sharing writing in general, it’s very tough. But the atmosphere is so chill, and the members are really friendly. There is way less risk in sharing your work than you think.”

Avery said even though this event, and events to come, may be directed at writers or people interested in writing, they provide a chance for people to experience something new and different. 

“I think a lot of people could benefit. It’s a good way for anyone to open their mind to something different,” she said. “I don’t think you’d have to be a writer or someone who’s necessarily interested. If you just want to come check it out, I still think it’s something you could enjoy.”

For more information be sure to check out the Writers of COD club on Instagram or email their adviser, Trina Sotirakopulos [email protected].