All posts tagged: University of Alabama; Fiction; Classes; the South

The Novel Workshop

On Tuesday, we had our first meeting of “The Novel Workshop,” a two-semester class intended for graduate students to write, as you may have guessed, a novel! I’m in a unique position in that I have written a novel before, but I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing—every novel is different, and I’ve heard many an author mention the challenge of writing a second novel after the first, to make novel-writing a practice rather than a single endeavor. I’m excited for the workshop. As far as I know, workshops designated specifically to writing a novel rather than short fiction are somewhat unusual among MFA programs. And I know what makes me most nervous about the workshop is probably a net positive—I tend to be someone writes sporadically, who does not keep to a schedule, who produces a lot but in intermittent starts and spurts. But the expectations of this workshop won’t allow for such. We are to produce 40,000 words by the end of our semester. My first novel was short, …

All about Class(es)

Earlier this week, we had a bit of fake fall weather (don’t worry, folks, temperatures are back up into the 80’s) and I realized that I was already finishing up with my fourth week of classes. Not surprising, given that the reading load seems to be, hmm, densifying as time goes on? (All words are words, even the made up ones!) But I wanted to spend this post talking about the classes I’m taking at Alabama and how classes work in general here. A lot of territory to cover, so let’s get started! This semester, I’m taking three classes, which is the norm for first-year MFA students at Alabama—Hypoxic Fiction, Blood Melodrama, and Comedy (second-years often drop down to two classes as they starting teaching their own undergraduate composition classes). I know, I know, the course titles kind of sound like I’m at some strange hippy-dippy summer camp, but that’s one of the neat things about Alabama—the classes tend to be a bit more unconventional than your typical workshops and theory courses. I’ll start with …