Semester 4 winds down
My last semester at Vermont College has been a particularly busy one. That's my rationale for no blog posts between Sept. 23 and Dec. 16.
On Friday, I turned in my last packet of homework ever--the 20th over the course of 2 years and 4 semesters. It contained a copy of my creative thesis: about 2/3 of my YA mystery novel, an abstract of my critical thesis on girl detective fiction, and the bibliography of my reading during my entire time in the program.
I also slipped inside the envelope 20 news pages of my novel, which I'm determined to finish by the end of the month. My advisor won't be expecting that, and it may make her crazy, but what the heck. She doesn't have to read the extra stuff.
While the semester is over, the work is not. During my final residency January 13-23, I have to give a 20-minute reading and a 45-minute lecture.
I plan to read a short story called "Shopping." It's a YA story--my shot at realistic and literary. (Generally I write genre fiction because I love action and plot.) This story is a fictionalized account of a family shopping trip my family made in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1981 when we were considering staying there. I've asked my sisters if they remember that particular visit to Sears. They don't, which is just as well because I've made up most of it. One advisor wanted me to cut out one of the sisters, and in a short story, I could see her point, but I left the character in because they all play a role in this story.
Going to readings has never been my favorite part of the residency. Maybe it's because I'm such a visual learner. Without visual aids I get antsy. Plus the readings by graduating students are usually scheduled in the late afternoon--prime nap time. So anyway, I didn't get around to attending any readings by graduating students until my 3rd residency in Jan. 2007. I discovered that the grads use that forum to thank people--their classmates, families, advisors. Some grads get really emotional about it. At the first grad reading I attended, the student could hardly get her weeping under control. I will not have this problem.
As for my lecture, I'll be discussing "Solving the Mystery of Literary Detective Fiction." I have no idea how many people at VC may be interested in writing mysteries, but I hope this demystifies the process somewhat. It's been very enlightening for me. My prime examples will come from Wendelin Van Draanen's Sammy Keyes series, Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes series, and Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart series.
And then I graduate!