Today I sent off my second packet of stories that will be workshopped at the Stonecoast residency in January. Stonecoast being the MFA in creative writing program I am attending. I am completing? Which has taken over my life? One of those is the correct usage, I'm not sure which.
This time around, I submitted a short prose story and a script for a short film. Both of them feature the same protagonist. That means something, but what exactly scares me. I'm three-quarters of the way through the novel I'm writing (give or take) and some part of my brain keeps telling me that this character will be the main character of the next one that I write. I keep telling my brain to shut up and let me finish the book in front of me, but it doesn't listen.
Anyway, I'm surprised by how much more confident I feel about my writing after just a few months in the program. Whether or not that confidence is earned I can't say. But I know that six months ago when I submitted my first ;packet for workshop, I was a nervous wreck. I convinced myself that I was deluded if I thought my pieces, the first two chapters from my novel, were up to snuff. I don't have any of those fears now. Not that I'm convinced I'm the second coming of Ernest Hemingway or anything. I just think I've written solid stories that will become better once they've been workshopped. Feeling confident about my writing is a new feeling for me. It's one I could get used to.
Another reason for me to be excited this residency is that I get to workshop with two amazing writers, Mike Kimball and James Patrick Kelly. Mike is my advisor/mentor this semester so I know that his comments will be thorough (I restrained myself from typing "brutal") and helpful in the extreme. I've never worked with or met James, but I've read some of his short fiction, which I liked, and I know he teaches at Clarion, so I'm expecting great things.
Reading over this, I realize I should probably write more about both the MFA program and about the novel. I won't do that tonight, but I will soon. Can you stand the suspense?