Michele Regenold, Writing for Kids from the Boondocks

A blog about writing for children and the quest for publication.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Post-MFA blahs?

Not me. I came home from Vermont and dove right back into my mystery novel. Partly this was because I'd finally figured out how to get around the small hurdle that had presented itself around Christmas time and partly because all of my advisors want to know when it's done. Nothing like a little pressure.

So my objective is to finish a good solid draft and have copies made by Feb. 11 to distribute to my critique group. Last night I finished writing the climax. Even though I knew the broad strokes of the scenes, it was still fun to discover the little details of them along the way, living that first draft along with my character. I have 2 scenes left. I will have no problem meeting my self-imposed deadline.

I'm also going to be sending a chapter or two at a time to my little brother to read. He just joined the Army (as in he left for basic on Jan. 30). I told him that the one thing I found hard to bear in basic was not being able to read books or magazines. Letters were acceptable, however, and I gobbled those up. So I told him I'd send him my novel in pieces for something to read. He said that sounded like what J.R.R. Tolkien did with his son. I'd heard that too.

When I'm done with this, I have another novel ready to revise. I may try rewriting a chapter or two in 3rd person. I also have a new novel banging on the door, ready to come in.

So no blahs here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The burgundy velvet dress

The Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in writing for children graduating class of January 2008, the Dedications. From left to right: Frances, Mary, Barbara, Nancy, Margaret, me, Page. This is at the reception after graduation. Photo by Frances's husband Lance.

Margaret Bechard (right) and moi at the reception. Photo by Frances Lee Hall. Frances surprised us with her photo request, I think, so we didn't have time to get self-conscious. At least I didn't. I think Margaret likes having her picture taken about as much as I do.

Barbara and me at the Black Door in Montpelier for supper after the reception. The rest of the Deds were there too. Barbara was showing me how to smile for the camera. Photo by Frances Lee Hall.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vermont College MFA in Writing for Kids and Teens

I have graduated, hallelujah! Several students have told me they stumbled on to this blog and found the info useful. To make it easier for people to trace my path through this program, I put all the related links here, in chronological order.

Acceptance and anticipation (fall 2005)
It begins: Residency 1, January 2006
Semester 1, Spring 2006
Residency 2, July 2006
Semester 2, Fall 2006
Residency 3, January 2007
Semester 3, Spring 2007
Residency 4, July 2007
Semester 4, Fall 2007
Residency 5, January 2008

Graduation from Vermont College of Fine Arts

(From left, Barbara, Nancy, me, Margaret, Page, Frances, Julie (and cut off on the right, Mary) as the dean confers our degrees. Photo by Paulette Oxner.)

Tuesday, Jan. 22 was a big day. I had to give my lecture that morning and graduate that afternoon.

The ceremony itself was short. We had to decide a lot of it early on, like who to be our graduation speaker and who to read the brief selections from our creative theses--these people are usually faculty members. My class decided not to do an invocation, so that cut a few minutes. We kept the class's welcome statement brief too. We announced our gift to the program, a new hard drive to help make lectures available in more formats.

We asked David Gifaldi to be our graduation speaker. He gave a marvelous speech that was funny, moving, and personal. We asked Rita Williams-Garcia to read the selections from our creative theses. She's a great reader, and she's worked with half of us, more than any other faculty member. Since there were so few of us, she was able to read several lines. The selection is chosen by our 4th semester advisors, so we don't know in advance what they'll choose. I smiled when I heard the piece Ellen Howard chose from my YA mystery, Smells Like Money:

Through the windshield I noticed the giant sunflowers in LuAnn’s garden. Their heads were as big as dinner plates, their deep gold petals painfully bright.

I closed my eyes against their glare. Grandma told me once that sunflowers follow the sun throughout the day, their heads turning to keep it in view.

Since Dad died Mom liked, no, needed to keep me in sight.
The president of Vermont College of Fine Arts usually confers the degrees and puts on the hoods, but he couldn't be there. We found out that anyone on the faculty could put the hoods on us. We asked Tim Wynne-Jones to do it. The hoods are kind of tricky little devils, so he practiced before the ceremony. The new dean made the formal statement conferring our degrees.

We've always admired the beautiful organ but never heard it played, so we had someone play that as we walked in and out. Other classes had bagpipes for that, but they sound sad and funereal to me. The organ was nice.

The organ in the chapel of College Hall, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont. Photo by Paulette Oxner.

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