MFA Update: Preparing My First Peer Piece

When I chose my MFA program (btw, got in everywhere all my paperwork made it in!), I had a matter of a few weeks to turn in my first writing. I had a few pieces I could polish up and submit, and in theory I could have waited for inspiration to hit (as it surely did) and start something totally fresh.

But I’ve been kicking around a piece about a pedophile who raises the girls he kidnaps in a cellar, and a detective inspector who has spent over a decade obsessively hunting him, off books, as the kidnappings he was brought in on are now cold cases. He rakes over the coals whenever it haunts him, looking for some spark, and then two more girls are taken. I even wrote a few chapters.

My writing has come a long way since I first envisioned this novel, a few years ago, and I decided my first look at the case was from the wrong angle. I was using the eyes of the DS to see the obsessive DI objectively, but it’s not from her that we get the emotion. She’s important to seeing him clearly, but if the reader is going to feel the desperation to find the girls, they need to get it from the DI. So I did something I almost never do: I rewrote the first chapter.

One of the most fun things about the rewrite is that I added in a dream sequence. Dream sequences are a fabulous tool because they allow the writer to bend reality without asking the reader to suspend disbelief. Tidbits of past information can be squeezed in without lengthy dialogue or narration, and without a flashback sequence. Dreams are more fun, more visceral, and about a million times more interesting. So instead of introducing the case and the police aspect through discussion and narration at the station, I gave my DI a dream sequence and a brief, non-descriptive conversation with his son before work.

I’ll keep y’all posted on how it goes!




My Current Plans/Life

As I may have previously mentioned, I was not accepted into any of the MFA programs to which I applied (although I got a wait list from Indiana-Bloomington! Promising!). So now I’ve moved on to Plan B.

Plan B consists of getting a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Liberty University Online, because of all the many places I looked into they were easiest to work with by far. So with any luck, in a couple of years’ time I’ll have a job teaching middle school english (woot).

I’m also reevaluating my plans for where to apply for MFA programs in the future, including possible low-residency programs if I get a job in the meantime. I’ll be keeping you all posted on my MFA life, as usual. Hopefully the second round turns up something a bit more concrete. Of course, I expect that this will take multiple rounds of applications to get in somewhere I can afford. Such is life.

Whilst working out this, I’m applying to be an emergency substitute teacher at a local school district, since they’re desperate. You know it’s bad if they have to have a position for people without a license. I plan to get that application in soon, so cross your fingers and I’ll try to remember to keep you posted on that as well! I could really use a bit of spare cash, even though I don’t expect to work often.

In my writing life, I’m working on two novels, neither of which I’ve properly given working titles to, yet. One’s a murder mystery, and the other I’ve got classified as a sort of romance novel for lack of a better genre at the moment. When I’ve got working titles for them, you’ll all be the first to know! 😀

An update on my USB disaster, I’m currently saving up money to get it fixed. It’s expensive, unfortunately, although I’m almost certain that the problem is a quick fix with the right (albeit expensive) equipment and experience. *sigh* Again, that’ll be up here when I’ve sent it off, and I will do a full review of the service I use, good or bad. Hopefully none of you have my terrifying experience, but if you do you’ll know who (or perhaps who not) to use!