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June 27, 2012 / Angela Sylvia

MFA Semester 4 – Day 6

This morning Jacqueline Davies ran her seminar on unreliable narrators. Though I have no desire to write my own unreliable narrator story (when asked who was interested, I kept my hand firmly on the desk) I really love reading these types of stories. Jackie did a great job of picking out scenes from the huge number of books we were asked to look at that showed how authors can use techniques to make their narrators unreliable, and how they twist the words and the reactions of other characters so that the readers become suspicious of their credibility.

At lunch I got to sit down with my last mentor, Susan Goodman, and have a good chat. We also looked at a picture book manuscript that I had wanted to work on this semester, but between my main creative work and the insanity that is the craft essay, I didn’t get through anything more than one edit. We compared notes on what should be taken out, and Susan and I brainstormed over what could possible change or happen about the plot. This was something she didn’t have to do, and I’m so grateful that she chose to take a section out of her day for it.

After lunch was large group workshop again, and I finally went. This no longer frightens me to my core like it used to, and I don’t think it’s because the questions are any less pointed — everyone had great comments and wonderful ideas (which I WILL steal) — so it must mean that I’ve grown some extra layer of skin. It was really productive, and helped me see things I hadn’t even realized were issues, always frustrating and fantastic at the same time. These ladies were great, and I’m sad to see most of them go as we scatter into small groups tomorrow.

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