Monday, April 13, 2015

Preparing a Thesis: Leveling Up in the MFA

Welcome to an MFA in Creative Writing! PRESS START!

Hello and welcome to the exciting world of creative writing! But first, do you write FICTION, NONFICTION, or POETRY?

You’ve chosen FICTION.

You are a fresh-faced FICTION WRITER starting out in the MFA program. Your current weapons set includes: MAGIC PEN OF IMAGINATION, KEURIG OF ENDURANCE, and A MODERATE AMOUNT OF SELF-DELUSION. You set out into the writerly wilderness on your quest to graduate!

(We’ll fast-forward through the all requisite grinding, leveling up and acquiring party-members. During this period you learn such skills as WORKSHOPPING, TAKING CRITIQUES and STAYING UP ALL NIGHT IN A SUGAR-FUELED CREATIVE FERVOR)

You have reached Level Year 3 of the MFA, your current party members include A COMMUNITY OF WRITING PEERS and A THESIS COMMITTEE. Your current weapons set includes: BLANKET OF PEER SUPPORT, DROPBOX OF NOTES, and A GENERAL IDEA OF YOUR THESIS PROJECT. Your final boss will be THESIS, but before you take on this massive and many-limbed foe, you must defeat these mini-bosses:

1.      THE PROPOSAL: To defeat this monster, you need to decide if you will be writing a NOVEL or a COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES. While the obvious strategy seems to be quick-thinking, do not be rash! If you strike at THE PROPOSAL too soon, you could end up with an unwieldy project that you hate, which only makes THESIS harder to beat. Take your time to think about your strengths and decide what will best play to them.

2.      WRITING THE ACTUAL PROJECT: To take this boss down, not going to lie, will take a lot of time. Sometimes you will get frustrated, you will lose what feels like weeks or months of progress and have to go back to the start. You will get lost in mazes, go in circles and shut the game down and bang your head against a wall. But this is where your weapons and party-members become most useful. Hot Tip: Use THESIS COMMITTEE MEMBER’S special ability: CONSOLE AND ADVISE, and if that does not work, have COMMUNITY OF PEERS cast NETFLIX AND CHEAP WINE.

3.      REVISION: The toughest of the mini-bosses, you must go back over your old progress with your most recently-acquired weapons and abilities and fix past mistakes. It can feel like an endless grind, but with each new draft, your skill level goes up. Trade in that KEURIG OF ENDURANCE for AN ESPRESSO PUMP THAT SHOOTS DIRECTLY INTO YOUR FACE.

You enter the final dungeon, your COMMITTEE MEMBERS have turned against you (not really, but it can sometimes feel that way), and it is time for the final boss: THESIS…DEFENSE?! Wow, what a shocking twist! Yes, throughout all the writing, and re-writing and questing you’ve come to actually care about THESIS, nay even become fiercely protective of it! You use all of your weapons and skill to defend THESIS with all of your might and defeat the final boss (which really wasn’t a boss at all…how deep. This is an artsy videogame). Your THESIS COMMITTEE approves of your strength in battle and you beat the game! Go you!

You unlock MFA DEGREE and can use it to download the DLC expansion pack: Navigating Life after Graduate School.



Megan Hesse is still basking in the achievement of an MFA in Fiction when not struggling at videogames.

No comments:

Post a Comment