Mormon Lit Blitz

Writing Late at Night
Writing Late at Night, iStockPhoto

My three Mormon Lit Blitz entries are in! (And now the post-partum depression and anxiety sets in. Chocolate, Dr. Pepper, and photos of kittens at play welcome!)

The shorts are titled “Riffs on Korihor’s Testimony,” “Singularity,” and “White Roses.”

My silence on my blog here has been largely due to my taking the time to work on getting these three pieces of a 1000 words each written. Believe it or not, it’s hard to write a story that “works” as a whole in that many words. It’s a good training exercise for sure.


I wrote “Riffs” and “White Roses” from scratch. I had written most of “Singularity” before now, but added to it for this contest. “Riffs” and “Singularity” are more “slice-of-life” pieces than coherent stories. “White Roses” was the most difficult to write because there was a lot to compact into 1,000 words.

“Riffs on Korihor’s Testimony” was inspired in part by Lorrie Moore’s “How to Talk to Your Mother” and in part by Boyd J. Petersen’s essay in Sunstone titled “Arriving Where I Started: Disassembling and Reassembling a Testimony.” I think it could stand to be expanded a little, but I worked in what I could for the contest. It’s intended to be a part of a larger work. It’s one of the blog posts written by my main character, Corey Hoar, who identifies himself as “Korihor” in the post. Corey Hoar is going through a “faith crisis” and works through his struggles on his blog.

“Singularity” is also a part of the same larger work. It’s a piece where Corey Hoar contemplates his own mortality. I added a bit at the beginning to contextualize his narrative.

You wouldn’t think so reading it now, since the story has gone way beyond the parable structure that motivated it, but “White Roses” was also inspired by Boyd J. Petersen’s essay mentioned above; in particular, the part about faith being more fidelity as in a marital relationship than it is a belief about a certain set of facts/non-facts. I went through a dozen drafts of this thing, so I hope it makes the finalists at least. I think it’s a strong, resonating short. Writing this story, one written in the realistic vein, and getting it “right,” made me appreciate realistic fiction again. (I’m constantly flirting with, seduced by postmodernist techniques.) There is a real craft in creating a realistic story that resonates with a reader. (Not that I’m saying I have it down pat. I’m only too keenly aware of my weaknesses.)

Final Plug

Still three days left! If you’re interested in throwing something into the mix, then go to the Mormon Lit Blitz Facebook page or the Mormon Artist blog page for instructions.

Read, Write, Execute!

Author: Michael Andrew Ellis

I write literary fiction at the confluence of Mormonism, Hmong culture, and the human condition. Here on my blog I write about Mormon arts and letters, Hmong history and culture, classic and contemporary literature, existentialism, and my journey as a writer.

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