Sunday, November 25, 2012

Life as an MFA student (Fall Semester 2011)

I have to say I really enjoy being a student. I love every aspect of it, even the homework. This semester was my second year (or so) of my Master's program, so fall semester I spent the majority of my (spare--ha!) time writing my thesis. I was really lucky because I got to take an indepenent study class with my advisor. Since I'm motivated by deadlines (my only motivation) we had a deal that I would turn in a chapter a week. We would meet and discuss each chapter, talk about where I wanted the story to go (which the majority of the time, I had no idea) and then we'd talk about how to head forward and things to keep in mind for revision. It was tough, but looking back I learned the most I ever had about the writing process. My advisor helped me see my project to the end and kept me from getting caught up in a revision cycle that would prevent me from getting there. This is snow baby. Snow baby is a joke we MFA students started. Two of my collegues were terrified of figurines (Hummels and Snow Babies in particular). Just as a side note, I'm terrified of clowns, and a porcelain clown showed up in our office too. Snow baby would disappear and then reappear in student offices and mailboxes. Along the way something happened to Snow Baby.
One day, Snow Baby showed up in my office with a message
Here is a picture I took of the side of my home computer. During this semester I drafted the first draft of my story, and with all of the story lines, I tried to keep track of the main tensions in the story. Having something "at stake" for your character is one of the most important things for your story. It is also the toughest thing for me to write. I don't write conflict well, so this was a friendly reminder for me. In fact, my first semester someone in workshop told me that I wrote like Nicholas Sparks or Nora Roberts. I cried every night for a week. Apparently, my husband filled in a conflict that I seemed to forget about too.


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