Digital Portfolio

(Update: This portfolio can also be viewed on its own web page.  I constructed the page from scratch using HTML and CSS.)

Dear prospective employers and assorted passers-by,

Hello!  My name is Patrick Stahl.  At the time of this writing I am finishing up my first year at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  I graduated top of my class at North Star High School in May of 2015 before moving on to UPJ to study Creative Writing.  Since then I have picked up Multimedia and Digital Culture as a second major and French as a minor.

I would love to work in the publishing industry, or if not in publishing then in writing.  It could be in-house or freelance, doesn't matter much to me.  My skills align most chiefly with the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  I am experienced in critiquing, learned in the craft, seasoned in short storytelling, and capable of working in a group.

Dozens of literary criticisms can be found on this blog.  Most of my reviews deal with short stories, but I have reviewed novelettes, novellas, and novels as well.  I've even written a few reviews of other sorts of stories, such as teleplays and the film Gravity.  The review I would like to highlight here is my review of Brandon Sanderson's novella The Emperor's Soul.  I wrote an older review of The Emperor's Soul after finishing it the first time back in 2013.  That review was a bit too brief.  A heavily-revised version that I wrote after a second reading can be found here.

I have been learning about the craft of writing genre fiction for several years now.  My main resources have been the Writing Excuses podcast and Brandon Sanderson's recorded lectures from his creative writing class at Brigham Young University.  Through these and a few other sources, I've had at least one hundred hours of creative writing instruction.  For a long time I wrote a weekly post on the craft of writing for this blog.  One of my favorite posts was an analysis of a short quote from the novel I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells.  In this post I endeavored to learn more about the craft of writing by examining just two sentences that I felt held literary magic.  A revised version of that post can be found here.

To demonstrate my storytelling skills I have selected three short stories that I feel are some of my best.  The first, which you can read here, is a 2,300-word fantasy story that I originally wrote my sophomore year of high school.  This piece emphasizes action, but there is also an element of romance embedded into the story.  It is set in a quasi-Medieval or Renaissance time period.  The point-of-view is 3rd-limited.

To represent science fiction, I have chosen 365-word "The Last Photo of Humanity," found here.  This story focuses on the psychology of the protagonist and on human identity, both common themes in speculative fiction.  I wrote this story for a contest called Flash Frenzy.  You can view the photo prompt from the contest here. The original version of this story was declared an Honorable Mention in the contest, which translated to a two-way tie for second out of twelve entries.  There is also some level of horror to this story, and it is futuristic in nature.  "The Last Photo of Humanity" is written in 1st-person.

For horror, I feel that the most frightening piece that I have penned is my 266-word Flash Friday entry "Two For Hell."  You can read it here.  My story did not do well in the contest, but I have made some changes to it since its entry. That story prompt can be seen here. (I chose "Retired Doctor" and "Isolated Country Manor" as my seeds.) The setting of this story is Victorian.  It could also be considered dark fantasy.  "Two For Hell" is also written in 3rd-limited POV.

Last, but certainly not least, as it is the longest, I have for you a revised version of an internal book proposal that I wrote for my Intro to Professional Writing college course with a young lady named Montana Mang.  The proposal is for a sci-fi novel, whose pitch I devised.  Any mention of "I" in the proposal is meant to represent Montana, as she is the Editor and I am her Editorial Assistant within the context of the faux proposal.  The proposal can be read here. I have made thorough changes, but Montana's hand lies yet within the piece.  I believe this document also demonstrates some of my knowledge of the publishing industry.

This portfolio exemplifies some of the best of my written work, as well as the breadth of my skills.  Within that breadth is a focus and love for the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  I adore the opportunity to entertain.  I enjoy both the writing of stories and the bettering of others' stories.  Any job that would allow me to engage in one or both of these activities would be a cherished one for sure.

Thank you greatly for your time,

Patrick Stahl

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