There was a snow day yesterday – the University was closed, which meant that the MFA couldn’t take place. Some of the stuff was made up, like workshop times, but other things, like seminars, were lost because the schedule is just too tight to allow for a rearrangement. It’s a little disappointing (I bought A LOT of books for the Got Arc? seminar) but it worked out alright. I walked to Harvard Square with some girls that are also staying in Irving House, and we went out to dinner. We had some great conversations; turns out Amanda has written for Demand Studios as well, and I might have turned someone on to Suite 101! Ha ha.
It didn’t snow today, so the residency went on as usual. We started with a seminar on the process of writing the novel. It was a little dull, but some of the stuff in that panel was just nice to hear; it was nice confirmation that I’m actually doing things right.
I wasn’t signed up for any of the following graduate seminars, so I sat with other students and read over manuscripts. I managed to get a conversation with Chris Crutcher once he was free from talking to some other professors, and we fleshed out my reading list for the semester a bit more. I’m starting to get a more concrete idea of what I will be accomplishing this semester, which is relieving. But, even if we aren’t completely sure on what we pick, that’s fine; Lesley is so flexible with the MFA, which means if I decide, “Oh, I would rather read this book than that book” halfway through the semester, that’s no big deal, they don’t care.
Our small group workshops happened after lunch. I had a hard time giving good comments at times, but I also feel like I managed to chime in well enough to make up for the smaller number of people.
With this part of Speaksong, I was able to get feedback on my villain! And I found out that everyone agreed that I showed my hand too early. I made it too obvious that he was the big bad guy, and the suggestion was that, while I leave in little hints, I need to make him seem less obviously sinister so that it not only makes sense that my main characters trust him, but it becomes that much more horrible (and satisfying) when they realize who he is. They told me this, and I was PISSED – because I knew they were completely right, and I now I have a bit of rewriting to do to make it work. Ha ha. I think this will also help an underlying theme in Speaksong that keeps getting more and more apparent as the story goes on, and as people look at it and give me their comments.
After dinner were graduate readings; it was nice to hear what the students who’ve passed through the whole program have produced. The last person used the journal format to write a zombie apocalypse story. Nice. No Writing for Young People tonight; the only one goes tomorrow, though.