About

About The Writer

Stephanie, circa 2011
My high school senior portrait, taken by Creative Portraits in 2011

My name is Stephanie. I don’t work for a publishing company and I am not a journalist or published author (unless you count a few poems for Medusa’s Kitchen and an essay in the UC Davis Prized Writing anthology). I am, like many of you reading this blog, a struggling writer who wants to be published and help other struggling writers.

I grew up in a small town in Northern California (please do not call it Cali) and, for the moment, I am still stuck there. I became tired of outdoor activities rather quickly and, between the torrid summers and relative lack of things to do indoors, I retreated into literature. Fantasy and similar genres grabbed my attention quickly, clinging tightly to my mind to this day. I was shy and could not express myself well around others, so writing became my only outlet for my thoughts and imagination. It did not take long for writing to become my passion, and I set out to become the best writer I could.

In high school, I took two creative writing courses at Stanford University, one through the Educational Program for Gifted Youth and the other through Stanford’s High School Summer Program. I went on to receive a Bachelor’s in English (with highest honors), specializing in Creative Writing and Literature, Criticism, and Theory. In September, I will be entering my second year in the University of Edinburgh’s Master’s in Creative Writing by online learning program. I also am plugging away at my wide array of novel and story ideas and earning some extra cash through freelance writing and editing.

Honors:

Longlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association’s Margery Allingham Short Story Competition 2017 — “Postmortem”

Phi Kappa Phi (2014 – Present)

Phi Beta Kappa (2014 – Present)

About The Lead Moderator

My mom goofs around in the telephone booth on the Queen Mary.

This is my mom, Yvette; she acts as the lead moderator for this blog, my second-in-command. Born in Pomona, California, she, her parents, and her two younger siblings moved all across the country during her childhood. Her mother, still living, was a typical, Southern-raised stay-at-home mom; her father was a U.S. veteran and professional artist. It was the death of her father, my grandfather, that put me on the path to becoming a serious writer.

Her family settled in Northern California when she was in high school, but it wasn’t until a few years of going back and forth between Northern California and Southern California that Yvette settled down in Northern California. It was there that she had my brother, got married to my dad, and had me. She also got an AA in Accounting, worked with Social Services, and briefly ran her own daycare. Although she raised us in Northern California (first as a mom and breadwinner and then as a stay-at-home mom), her dream is to move back to Southern California and work for Disney.

Her greatest passion is genealogy but she is also an avid reader. From Edgar Allen Poe to Anne McCaffrey, her book collection reaches well into the hundreds. She introduced me to the wonder of books at a very young age by reading with me every night since I was born, a tradition which we continued even into my pre-teen years. (Trust me, you’re never too old to bond with your mother over a good book!) She is the reason I am pursuing my dream of being a writer and I could not do it without her.

About This Blog

So, why am I writing this blog? What is this blog about, if I am not already a published professional trying to give advice to new writers?

I want to create a community for struggling writers at all stages. From the author publishing his/her hundredth novel to the newcomer who is just setting pen to paper, I want them all to have a place where they can retreat and renew themselves before returning to the page. I will use my experience as advice (both good examples and horrible warnings) and provide all the writing-based distractions I can find. Most importantly, I will give this support, advice, and distraction from the view of a  fellow writer struggling to earn public (and private) recognition.

This blog will not have any sort of structure. The posts will be about whatever is most helpful at the time I write them. Community members are encouraged to provide suggestions and questions both in the comments sections and by directly contacting me.

My mom and I wait for my college graduation, June 2015. She is my best friend and the biggest supporter of my writing.

Why “The Writer’s Scrap Bin”?

My issues with finishing stories and putting them out for the world to see have always boiled down to one thing: lack of confidence. I’ve doubted my writing, my editing, my ideas, and even the messages behind my stories. This problem did not get any better as I delved deeper into the writing world, where my preferred genres were often discouraged as “non-literary.”

I could have easily thrown out all of my ideas. I could have stuck with the “literary” genres or left the writing world altogether. Fortunately, I had a support system that did not allow me to give up or abandon what I loved. They gave me praise when I needed it, criticism when I needed it even more than praise, and showered me with all of the writing resources that they could find. Thanks to them, I had the confidence to apply to the University of Edinburgh with fantasy, Gothic horror, and science fiction stories in mind. I gained entry into what is otherwise an aspect of the “literary” world with my “non-literary” preferences, which I would not have been able to do without the support I received.

That is why I call this blog The Writer’s Scrap Bin. Too many writers become discouraged with their writing, whether it is because they can’t figure out how to proceed, their style is unconventional, or they don’t write in the “right” genre. My hope with this blog is to encourage people to continue writing despite their doubts. I wish to convince them to stop throwing out stories and rescue the potential gems that are already pouring out of their scrap bins.

 

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Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011