All posts tagged: inspiration

5 Things I’ve Learned From Workshop

  Workshops push you to write because there is a real, concrete, tangible deadline. I hate to admit this, but the deadline forces me to write instead of watching Netflix or browsing shoes online, and that push helps. Workshop can feel like information overload. Especially if you’re like me, and you go home and immediately devour all of the written feedback at once. I find it helpful to read all of the written notes and line-by-line comments once, quickly, and then put them away and make a list of things that I find helpful: ideas to use in revision. I think this is helpful because by putting everything away, you are recording only what you remember, and because you inevitably remember certain things and not others, these are the things that matter to you. Go for the metaphors. Even if they fall flat some of the time, when they work, they really work.* I hate revising. First drafts are fun because they are freedom and potential, a balloon expanding. Workshop deflates the balloon to a …

The Dissertation

Image: Ignacio B. Peña I’ve got two posts left (including this one) before my regular(ish) contribution to The MFA Years comes to a close. Before I write my wrap-up next month at the end of my course, I wanted to take some time to talk about the last few months as it relates to my experience approaching my summer dissertation, and everything that that entails. First, a brief overview. Over the course of this summer, the fiction students are required to write a creative dissertation project that spans a word count of 15,000 – 20,000 words. This can be achieved in any way the student sees fit, be it one complete novella, a collection of short stories or flash fiction, or the continuation of a novel-in-progress. I decided I wanted to write a self-contained novella. Undoubtedly the foremost reason for having taken this year to pursue a Masters was so that I can develop my craft as a writer of fiction; and in this respect, I feel that my time in Edinburgh has been invaluable. …

GARRA

The Spanish and Portuguese word garra translates literally into English as claw, paw or talon. Figuratively is it used as courage, guts, gumption, determination, hustle, spirit or energetic optimism. If you follow football, the sport where you kick the ball with your feet, not the college social event with all the rules and tactics and special teams, you will hear the word often. The Brazilian right-backs Dani Alves and Marcelo have mas garra que talento. Spark, fire, gall, nerve, cheek–chutzpa is a good translation. Tenacity works. Get-up-and-go, if you want to be super clear. Writers need garra and god bless the five week winter break that is creeping nostalgically into a flowery and premature denouement. Christmas and New Year’s, seeing friends and family, meeting new and old folk, drinking and sleeping late, flying and reading buckets, have all filled me with an incredible amount of garra—I am ready to return. I am ready to get back at the helm. I am ready to write and MFA like the wind. Before the break, I had planned …