All posts tagged: writing process

In Search of Lost Mojo (An introduction)

Image: Adeline Oka You applied to MFA programs last winter peddling your best traits: a voracious curiosity and an insatiable lust for soul-stirring prose. A year later, after a 17-day cross-country road trip originating in South Florida, after getting settled during one of those famed blissful Pacific Northwestern summers—the apex of which was witnessing a cosmically rare solar eclipse from smack dab in the path of totality—after briefly evacuating to New York City when those dreamy days combusted into a toxic haze fueled by catastrophic wildfires, you find yourself in rural Oregon the night before fall quarter starts, shivering in your Miami clothes, frozen before a white screen. Fraud, you scream in your head. It’s not that you knowingly deceived the ad-coms; what you’re realizing is, like the photo from eight years ago you still keep on your Tinder profile, that portrait of your writer self is outdated. That version was based on who you thought you were at 24, when you first seriously considered getting an MFA upon realizing, during your first graduate program, that you didn’t just want to read …

Writing Process as Writing Problem

Image: darkday Earlier this week I sat in my professor’s office discussing the revision made to my second story submission. It had been somewhat substantial: I’d completely rewritten the beginning three times and composed several additional scenes I was 99% sure weren’t going to make it into the final story, all in order to better understand the main character. I asked my professor some questions about proceeding with another revision and if they were in line with the vision I had for the story. She asked what, exactly, was my vision for the story. After I elaborated, she told me something I simultaneously knew I needed to hear, but also totally did not want to hear. She said she liked the idea, but the portrayal I’d been gunning for over the last few drafts still wasn’t anywhere in the story. As we talked through what was in the current draft and she offered strategies for writing towards my vision, it slowly dawned on me that I’d have to rewrite 70, 80, 90 percent of the …