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July 4, 2011 / Angela Sylvia

Late Post: MFA Days Eight and Nine

Apologies for not posting my updates right away. I was busy saying goodbye Friday, and busy vegging out when I finally came home on Saturday.

Friday started out with Abigail Singer’s graduating seminar on info dumping. In particular she was talking about fantasy novels, but I can see her advice working on any sort of fiction. The focus of this seminar was on how can we give our readers all the necessary information, without boring them with details or awkwardly placing the facts.

I took a break after that but the afternoon was back to small group workshops. I was up first, and once again Tony Abbott went through my piece practically line by line. But while he is really rough on parts, he is so nice and funny that I don’t feel like I’m being tortured through the whole thing. We finished up with Jamie’s piece after that, and got out in time to go to the first session of graduate readings.

On Saturday I made a point of going to Jan Nerenberg’s graduating seminar, on how to determine whether someone is popular, critically acclaimed, or both. A lot of the focus was on comparing Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, which was absolutely thrilling. Jan is someone I’m really going to miss now that she’s out of the program.

The rest of the day was filled with optional toolbox sessions. I had thought The Web for Writers would particular interesting to me, but it was only about creating your on blog and social networking, which I do already. The panel discussion later was fun, but when we split off to different rooms to talk to an individual panelist I think I made the wrong decision again – though I did learn quite a bit about agents.

One thing I enjoyed about both days was that I had the chance to eat lunch with David Elliott. Other students were there, of course, and it’s difficult to pull him aside for more than a moment to have a real conversation in this environment, but I still enjoyed the chance to talk to him again.

I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around, and walking to Harvard Square to book shop while I waited for the graduation to begin. It was very low-key and fun, but I was so tired at this point I kept fading. After at the reception I said goodbye to some friends, but after chugging a Pepsi so I wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel I made my exit.

This residency was fun, and has me really excited for the whole semester. I already miss all my friends, like Rachael and Elley, and all the new buddies I made this time around, but I plan on doing a much better job of keeping in contact with these friends this semester – people are allowed to hold me to that.

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