Writing update: summer promises.

Well, the semester is almost done–one final tonight (contemporary theories in cultural criticism…or something like that. I never have actually learned the name of the class), then begins the summer of self-directed…stuff!

(Only one more year until I graduate with my MA in English (Creative Writing track). Assuming I pass my German literacy requirements, my comprehensive exams, and complete my thesis. To those ends…)

(…on German…)
So this summer I need to basically re-learn German. 😛 Not that I’m really complaining, I love the German language! But I’m so far behind…. Back in my BAs, 10 years ago,  I earned enough GRM credits to get my undergrad degree, but I’m technically 2 courses short for my MA. I can either take the literacy test (which is what I’ve been thinking) or take two more classes (which wouldn’t work with my day job since they don’t offer GRM classes at night). I’m still somewhat good on German grammar, conjugation, syntax, but quizzing myself on German vocabulary…unless the test is composed of all pronouns, numbers, colors, and ways to say “I don’t know” and “I don’t understand,” I’m screwed.

I need to get some really good teach-yourself-resources this summer (any suggestions?!) and then see if I can take an advanced OTC class in the Fall (so if I bomb it won’t affect my 4.0 MSU gpa *prideful grin*), and then get that test out of the way before focusing on comps….

(…on Comprehensive Exams…)
Gah! I am SO dreading these! I have to come up with ten “questions” to write about regarding various topics in all of English literature, linguistics, theory, and cultural studies, submit them for review, get back four, write papers on them, and then on exam day find out which two I’ll be “answering” and then rewrite the papers from memory. I understand the necessity–I am supposed to be a “master” of my subject when I graduate with an MA. But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to have an ulcer that’s a Master of Pain in the process.

(…on Thesis/Novel…)
And for the good news: I just finished the first half of ENG699 this semester–my thesis work course. And incidentally, have finished the first half of my novel’s first draft. As my MA is Creative Writing focused, my thesis is a “creative thesis.” I looked over past English creative thesis in the university library…and I’m sort of disappointed. Almost all of the past creative thesis are collections of poems (no, that’s cool, that’s not what I’m disappointed about), but if it’s prose it’s almost all memoir (c’mon, really? Seventy pages of personal journal writing is a masters thesis?) or a couple of short stories. I like MSU, I do. But this is what they’re accepting as master’s work in creative writing? If you’re going to do short story collection (nothing wrong with that) it should be a personal anthology! At least eight and of varied genre. I saw maybe one complete novel in the collection and two partial novels (about seventy or eighty pages).

Well, if I can’t be in the University of Iowa’s Writing Program, then I’m at least going to set my own bar higher. I’m writing a complete novel, finished and polished, with an analysis anchored in critical theory, and a supplemental journal on the process of creation (I do hope to teach creative writing after all). So, last week my first draft reached 42,900 words (or about 120 pages). When I set out and created the novel’s general outline and background, I estimated it was going to be about 95,000 words long (about 275 mass market pages), and last week I felt I reached the mid-way point in the novel; it looks like I’m estimating my goal pretty well. Now this summer (and next fall) I need to finish the draft and start working on editing before ENG699 recommences Spring 09. That’s when I should be doing final edits and completing my critical analysis.

I’m considering posting my draft thus far for only friends to be able to access, and ask for feedback….