Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm exhausted. It's 10:30, dinner won't be for another half-hour, and I haven't eaten since lunch. Somehow, I still have the restraint to avoid eating raw chicken.


I've been writing. Today I met my MFA thesis advisor for the first time. It was the large group meeting, everyone in fiction getting to line up names with faces, a very good but very quiet meeting. During this get-together, my thesis advisor, Alice McDermott, gave some very good advice. She recommended that we as students try out new work. She said that if we come up with an interesting idea at the coffee shop, we should go home and write it, to go ahead and give the new idea a try. The other faculty member present, Jean McGarry, seconded the importance of this. I'm not sure which one said this, but they said that it's better to turn in a spectactular failure than it is to have perfect, polished work all the time.


The note I posted a few days ago was related to this, but I was having a lot of trouble making it work for me. Part of why I decided to go the MFA route is because I wanted to learn to write better stories. Though I left it out of my MFA application, I've been writing science fiction for years. Too many years, I think. It's incredibly easy to develop ready-made plot when your protagonist has a laser pistol jabbed in her face. It might not be good plot, but at least we know what the protagonist will do - must do - in order for the story to continue. Assuming of course you don't want the ending to be medium-rare.


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