SHU WPF: 2013 Jan Residency (Day 1)

The first (official) day of the residency is in the books. As a refresher for those that don’t remember this, here’s a brief recap:

The first day starts with faculty moderated discussion groups processing the “common novel” for the residency. This particular selection: Fated by Alyson Noel. (How this works, as I think it happens… I’ve heard a few different explanations. The genre rotates each time – in June it was YA, this one was supposed to be Romance. June 2013 is supposed to be SF/Fantasy, we think. Students in the particular genre then vote from a list and  that then gets passed to the rest of the students before the end of the current residency.)

I will spare you most of the sentiments (most of which were of an unfavorable variety). My thoughts: it was good enough to be picked up by a publisher. Not my usual type of thing, and most likely a series I won’t seek out to finish. But it’s not directly a romance, either… it’s a teen paranormal… thing. The romance was more of a subplot to the bigger events (as many of us read it). Stylistically, it… had some issues, but that could also have been a failing of me as a reader not being versed in structural conventions of that particular market.

Afterwards, we all broke to “Level” specific sections. Where last residency featured a formal introduction to the program, this time we went to a “Close Readings” discussion with Dr. Nicole Peeler. How to take an existing manuscript (a favorite published story or novel) and start picking it apart for stylistic sake… the “checking under the hood” sort of thing. It’s a skill set that can also translate to a pass through a work in progress – especially after the first draft is done and it’s being subjected to line-edit polishing.

Then came lunch.

Then, the first formal lecture. (June flashback – new students have to take the “Critiquing” module, as are all of the modules predetermined for the first residency). As a “2”, only three of the four modules are assigned/required sections. This happened to be the “self-selected” one, and I had chosen “The Business of Writing,” led by Victoria Thompson. Good stuff for someone that is completely green to that side of the writing process. (Disclaimer: everything we do is filtered through the lens of our own experiences. Some of the writers that I have been following for the past couple of years have written things that have spoken to some of the content that Thompson spoke of, like this series of entries from Charlie Stross.)

To round out the evening, there was a slate of thesis presentations (of which, I went to two).

Afterwards it was back to the hotel with a small group of us stopping for dinner along the way.

Then came the preparations for tomorrow, and the start of the workshops. Which I still have a slew of things to do, so if you’ll excuse me…


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