Friday, May 22, 2009

Getting an MFA the Hard Way: Part One

This week my writers' group met. (Random thought: why do we claim ownership of anything we're involved in? It's my group, my church, my home town.) Five of us gathered to mull over our work and gnaw on a couple conundrums. One writer wrestled with how to present five POVs in her lengthy fantasy novel, while another struggled to find words to describe the smells of an Amish restaurant when she herself has no sense of smell or taste. For nearly 90 minutes ideas bounced around the table like an erratic ping-pong ball.

I was the only one of the five who was an original member of the group. The others have come within the last three or four years. We've talked about how to draw more people to our meetings. It's a paradox, because we're not sure that we want more. Perhaps I should say need, rather than want. Back in the early days when we numbered ten or twelve at a meeting, we seldom had time for everyone to read even snippets of their work. A smaller group allows for that, and I love the exercise.

We five, along with a couple others who couldn't attend this month, form a nucleus of what I call serious writers. We readily learn from one another at the meetings and throughout the month via our Yahoo group. While I cannot speak for the others, I feel that I am working toward an informal MFA by studying my craft through books, online resources, participation in SCBWI and ACFW, and dialog with other writers, editors, and agents.

"This is work," said one of our SIWS members. It is. And we revel in it.

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