Why an MFA program… why now? It’s true, I’m not the typical candidate. But then I’ve never been the typical anything. I started writing for children’s television in animation and at that time, there were less than 5 women animation writers. It was the boys’ club stronghold in TV. This is probably because most (not all) but most animation writers were card-carrying geeks. They were conversant in comic books from day one… they were cartoon-o-philes… they were gag-specialists. And listen, I mean no disrespect. They were GOOD. I was just someone who wanted to write. I don’t know why they let me in — less than 5 women — but they did. I never really learned comics inside and out, nor did I become a cartoon expert. But I did learn to write.
When I wrote my first YA novel I realized this was what I should have been writing all along. Then when I tried to sell that novel, I realized there’s a difference between TV and fiction. I spent a couple of years working on my craft. I went to workshops, retreats. I read books, joined critique groups. I got my manuscript to the best point possible, given what I had to work with. And still I knew it wasn’t good enough. It didn’t stack up against the other books out there being pushed by the pubs. It didn’t transcend the genre. I wanted to do better I just didn’t know how.
Then my friend Beverley BevenFlorez started her semester at VCFA. When she got her first packet response back from her faculty advisor (who happened to be Jane Kurtz) she wrote me a long email telling me why I had to do this, too. I had been searching for something advanced to up the ante on my skills. I could tell this was it. I took a leap of faith, applied and was accepted.
Now I’m just a little over a month away from being at the half-way mark. It went by so fast. And it is working so well. More about what I’ve learned in coming blogs. Suffice to say, I found my muse in the form of an MFA.