Back to School!

Craft of Writing, MFA, SHU, Writing


So you might recall that in June 2008, I received my Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. In July 2009, we found out that SHU got approval to confer a Master of Fine Arts degree, which is the terminal degree in creative fields. This is desirable for those who want to teach at the university level (and for those who like a lot of initials after their names. I won’t disclose which I am 😉 ). Alum were given the option to come back for half the necessary hours and receive a MFA, so a slew of us have descended on that lovely campus and probably scared all the new students silly.

The program has changed a bit since I graduated. The main difference is the inclusion of online classes. (This is what kept me so busy the first half of the year.) There are a total of five classes: three genre reading classes, a teaching popular fiction class and a writing popular fiction class. The genre readings are fun, for the most part. Choice of genre class is left up to the student. So far, I’ve taken a horror class and a mystery classics class. Both of those genres figure a lot into my writing. I’ve also taken the teaching class, which was very, very challenging. I’d forgotten how time consuming and mentally intensive reading academic non-fiction is! I learned a lot from that class though and I’m glad I took it. Because I was doing so much reading last term, I’ll be reviewing the readings and notes from the teaching class. Expect some posts on that before the year is out!

I have one more genre reading class (it’s going to be YA/middle grade) and the writing about popular fiction class, which I believe is going to be taught by Nicole Peeler, who’s new faculty at SHU. I’m taking the writing pop fic class this term and the reading in January.

This term, I’m back on with the writing component! Last semester, since I took three reading-intensive classes, I opted to wait to take a writing section. As a result of all that reading, I got no writing done at all during the term! My own fault, but I’m really glad I’m getting back to it. For the writing term this semester, I’m going to be working on a middle grade paranormal called Keepers of the Key. It’s about a set of twin girls who discover they’re the guardians of Pandora’s box. I’m very excited about it. I did a rough and dirty draft for NaNoWriMo last year, but it needs LOTS of love, so that’s my project for this writing term. The title will most likely change, since it applied to the original concept (which was a short story) but no longer does. I suck at titles. Maybe I should suggest that as a class: Titling for Dummies. Anyway, that’s an entirely different post.

The other component to the SHU MFA are the residencies. We all descend on the SHU campus for five days of brain-leakingly (yeah, I went there) intensive modules and critique sessions. We meet with our mentor and critique partners for the term (I’ve got two rocking partners!). We make merry and go on very little sleep. This residency was a blast, but exhausting, for a number of reasons. Alcohol may or may not have been involved. But that is, also, another post, which will probably come tomorrow-ish.

I’m going to be reviving my What I’ve Learned posts, which include stuff from the program as well as stuff I pick up along the way which helps with writing, rewriting, revising, proofing, submitting and the overall publishing process. So look for those in the near future, as well!

Onward! To the keyboard!

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