Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sweet, sweet blog

I feel drawn to this thing. I just want to give it love, and that definitely motivated me today since I put off posting until after work. I tend to get enthused with new things to the point of obsession, and then get to a point where I can take or leave it. So far that hasn't happened with my novel, and I hope that it won't happen here.

I just had a great talk with my advisor, Sharon Darrow. I'm in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. It's a low-residency program, which means that I work with an advisor for a semester at a time, and between semesters, I spend ten days on campus going to lectures and readings, not sleeping, and cramming as much community into that short time as possible. One of my fellow students calls it Evil Genius Writing Camp, and that feels about right. I heart it.

The wonderful and terrifying thing about the program is that you write and study mostly on your own. I have my fellow students for online support, and interaction with my advisor once a month, but the writing itself, the schedule I keep, what I choose to focus on when, is pretty much my own. Some advisors are more prescriptive than others, and so far I've had a lot of freedom in setting my own course. As much as I love having structure imposed on me, this model forces me to take control of my routine and process. I hope that by the time I finish the program, I'll have built a process that I'll be able to hold onto without suffering the giant shock of being thrust back into the real world.

I'm on packet two of my second semester, my first packet consisting of 180 pages of my YA novel in progress (I cut about 100 pages before submitting this 180) and an easy reader. Each packet also includes essays, a reading list, and a letter to the advisor. For my second packet, I'll be focusing on revision with some new material on the novel as well.

Sharon gave me some essays to read with a great point of focus for revision. The work I need to do is daunting, but I feel like I've grown as a writer just today, and I know that growth is going to continue throughout the semester.

I can't quote the essays here, but how about a quote of a quote that caught me? Federico Garcia Lorca:

"Black sounds--behind which there abide, in tenderest intimacy, the volcanoes, the ants, the zephyrs, and the enormous night, straining its waist against the Milky Way."

This is where I need to go in my revision. Wish me luck.

Today's word count: 1,921
Currently reading: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff and John Gardner's The Art of Fiction

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