Monday, December 14, 2009

One Down, Three to Go

I finished my first semester of MFA study! Yay me!

A huge weight is off my shoulders both because this semester is finished and I have a holiday break now, but also because I'm one quarter of the way through my MFA degree.

Not knowing what to expect going into the program I was overwhelmed and slightly intimidated, but even though it was tons of work...buried under a mountain of reading and writing reader responses for each and every novel and screenplay...I feel appropriately educated, like my academic collection meter has gone up a satisfying notch.

So what did I accomplish over the semester? I decided that my thesis will be a screenplay and I wrote both a detailed outline and a first draft of the first act. I'm happy with the story even though my mentor has a slightly different vision for it. We'll probably have an uncomfortable, maybe awkward, discussion about that at the upcoming residency.

I read (mostly) 19 books and something like 15 screenplays (while also watching the movies), and wrote responses for each of them, plus critiqued written submissions from all the other students.

In addition during the month of November I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote 50000 words in 30 days on the second novel in a 3-novel romance series I'm working on.

Now that the semester is over, I don't know what to do with myself. Other than finishing the NaNoWriMo novel it feels weird not to be facing ridiculous academic deadlines.

Our next residency starts Dec 28, so I'm sure after that I'll go right back to the overwhelming pressure. I'll be working on my screenplay, finishing a complete draft, but I'll also work on the professional writing aspect of the degree where I've chosen to focus on grant writing. I think that'll be pretty interesting.

And when I'm finished with the second semester I'll be half done with the degree!

In the meantime I'm going to try to enjoy the holiday. Tomorrow is Christmas shopping. Not so much fun, but if we can get it done in one day I'll be happy. It's going to be budget holiday at our house since the checkbook is seriously anorexic this year. But we always find ways to have fun no matter what, so it should be a great holiday anyway.

Hope you're all looking forward to a moderately relaxing holiday!


sherrinda said...

Congratulations on a semester accomplished! It sounds like you are getting so much experience in your field. Good luck with the shopping today...may you get TONS accomplished!

ElanaJ said...

Holy cow. Just reading all the stuff you've done makes me feel like a complete slacker! 19 books? 15 screenplays? 50,000 words???


Terresa said...

A screenplay? Awesome!

Congrats to you. Someday I would love to get an MFA...I just need my kids to grow up a little quicker and more hours to lengthen my days.