Friday, September 4, 2009

First Fiction Workshop/First Week

By Casey Tolfree

I already talked about much of my first day. It was a good day. A little nerve-racking I'll admit. A lot of reading to do, a big presentation (90 minutes) - scary, but it was inspiring. I enjoyed the day and was glad to be there. I was anxiously waiting Thursday and my fiction workshop.

My Fiction workshop was not quite as exciting and exhilarating. We didn't write or read. We didn't do much of anything. Basically for two hours we went around and introduced ourselves and went off on tangents about various authors or ideas. I felt at a loss with such little structure. We didn't even get a syllabus yet. I think it will get better once we start workshopping and writing but my first class did not have me leaving happy. Or feeling like I was studying writing, nonetheless anything.

I'm debating what I should get ready for my first workshop which I hope to be the week after next. A few chapters from my novel? The beginning of my novella.... I'm not sure yet. Something good.

My teacher said something to the liking of: all first year students think they can write but they can't and they suck at it.

I don't like that statement. Writers can always get better. I get better every day. I mean the change from my last novella to my current novel is insane. I didn't want to study writing originally because I didn't want someone to tell me I couldn't write because writing is my life and even if I never get published and even if my boyfriend and friends are the only ones to ever read my stories, I don't care. I will still write. So I'm going to try and take advice and really get something out of the workshop but I'm not ever going to say mine or someone else's work is bad.

Next week should be interesting.... the real work begins...


  1. "My teacher said that all first year students think they can write but they can't and they suck."

    In 10th grade I had an English teacher who routinely failed most of his advanced students on their first essay under the theory that we didn't really know how to write and we needed to get it through our heads that there was always room for improvement. Your professor reminds me of him.

    Hopefully it turns out there is more balance between criticism and praise in your workshop than what the statement suggests. Saying that the work will "suck" seems unnecessarily harsh!

  2. Yeah, considering he hasn't seen any of our work yet ....

  3. Hopefully your teacher means all first years' work sucks compared to their work later in the program?

  4. I would try to take it how Jennifer put it. Obviously it was good enough to get you all into the program and they wouldn't want to say that everyone in the program sucks. I've heard so many people post-mfa say that they can't even read the stuff they wrote in the 1st semester because it was that bad lol. Your work is going to go to another level, regardless of what level your professor feels you are already on, IMO.

  5. I agree with JayTee. Your work is obviously good enough for grad school, but it's going to improve dramatically this semester and over the next couple years.

    I hope next week goes well!

  6. Sounds like the teacher made a poorly chosen comment, whatever the case.

    But maybe it was just a simple mistake.

    And maybe he's a jerk.


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