Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Carmona

Second Advisor

Dr. John Lowdermilk

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Johnson


For my thesis, I want to explore a part of society which is often not explored due to some controversial views while incorporating my own love and fascination with science-fiction and human nature. Imbued in each of my stories are complex characters, all of which suffer from a pronounced illness or one that is dormant. While having no connection to each other, every short story I am writing for the thesis will share a similar theme. All center on the struggle for normalcy and conformity vs. biases views and prejudism. As a writer, I am able to walk in the shoes of my characters, as a way of understanding how each one feels and thinks. Writing stories like this has given me a broader understanding of the struggle some individuals endure on a daily basis. Some don’t know that what they have isn’t there fault while many shun every opportunity due to an inability to recognize their own faults.

The points of views I choose to use vary, from adolescence to young adult and full grown individuals. Every story in this short story collection will be like a seed, only planting what these characters will eventually become. I will not include the aftermath, only the end result. A huge inspiration for my style of writing comes from Shakespeare, whose exploits of human nature with a mixture of fantastical elements create an allure form of storytelling. Many of my own stories are grounded in reality with science-fiction elements acting as the counter-cultural aspect of mental illness. Oftentimes there is the misconception that people with mental illnesses are dangerous to society and should be treated differently because of something they cannot control. None of my characters are singularly good or bad. Each embodies a mixture of both, with some possessing sympathetic qualities while others are irredeemable by the stories end. I will place each story in order from the highest level of dormancy to the lowest level of relativism. The purpose of this is for every story to intensify on a psychological level. Just as some illnesses may be more severe than others, the stories will be molded and shaped as the process goes along. I plan to make the first story in the collection a tame one, with the last being the most dark of all. Just as with this world, not every condition will be given a clear line for which to follow. Diagnoses are not always on par with the symptoms an individual with mental illness displays. As a result, many of my protagonists will have a clear mental illness, but some may have more unstable minds than the others I plan to portray. What I would like, for anyone reading the stories in sequential order, is to get an experience of intensity, like watching a horror movie, which always starts off with a bang, then becomes calming, and ends with another bang. In addition, I will also do outside research, speaking to school therapists, and reading about a wide variety of the mental illnesses I wish to write about.


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