Wait, what day is it?

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Oh dear, it’s Tuesday, isn’t it? My day to post. Y’all, I apologize…I was so busy this weekend and yesterday that I completely forgot to finish the brilliant post I started a few days ago. Instead of finishing in a hurry and posting after the sun’s gone down, I’ll hold it ’til next week. For now, ask me anything. About writing, about reading, about belly dancing…. whatever you want, ask. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll make something up that sounds good.

I swear, next week’s post will be brilliant!

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21 comments to Wait, what day is it?

  • Hi Misty! It’s okay that you forgot. It happens. I will look forward to your post next week though. πŸ˜‰

    Since I’m the first question, I’m going to ask more than one!

    I’m considering applying for the 2011 start class. However, I was not an English major in college and I’ve found that as a result I’m not qualified to apply to certain MFA programs at what I would consider to be the top local schools (I’m in SoCal, so that would be UCLA and USC). It’s very discouraging. But then I was thinking that maybe it’s not always the best route anyway. Maybe there are other ways to learn the skills that I need to become a successful author.

    What’s your take on getting an MFA in creative writing? Do you have one? If not, have you felt that not having an MFA has hindered you in any way? If you do have an MFA, do you feel that it was a worthwhile investment?

  • Hi Misty

    Life gets in the way sometimes!

    Well, belly dancing! I’m an Egyptian-style girl (love me some beledi and saidi!), what form do you do?

    Anna xx

  • Hi Megan!

    The only degree I hold is a Bachelor’s in Modern Languages (with a minor in Philosophy and Religion…just call me Liberal Arts Girl!) so in my own experience, my lack an MFA was not at all a hindrance to achieving publication. I’m a big fan of education, though, so I can’t imagine it would do you any harm to earn an MFA. You might consider some of the schools that aren’t the “top” ones, too. My nearly-grown son recently discovered that a community college near here not only offers the course of study he wants, but that teams from that school won a national game design competition this year. They were up against teams from Yale and Harvard. In other words, the top schools aren’t necessarily the only ones to choose. πŸ˜€

    I think the others would agree with me that the most important thing you can do to hone your skills is simply to write. Having teachers and advisors to read what you write would be very useful, and learning to write on a deadline is easier when your grade depends on it, but it isn’t the only way. You can locate a local writers’ group that meets regularly. Or recruit friends whose opinions you trust to be your beta readers. Write and write and submit and get rejected and write some more, and before you know it, you’ll be published!

  • Beatriz

    Ohhh, questions!

    What is Faraday’s constant?

    Sawyer, Sayid, Spike or Elliott? You can pick only one. Who will it be?

    World famous belly dancer or world famous author? Which one? (let’s assume the pay would be the same for either choice)

    Tim Powers invites you to dinner. What’s the one question you’re dying to ask him?

    The Stick or Sawyer’s letter. Which one would you want more?

    [You didn’t expect *serious* questions from me, did you?]

  • Oh, oh! I have a question. A serious one. Do you have a source you’d recommend for learning Old English syntax, grammar, etc? I seem to remember you (rightfully) correcting a “thine, thee, thou” thing in “The Dragon Muse” after my reading, and I need to be able to do stuff like that on my own.

    Oh, and what is the average flight speed of an unladen swallow?

  • Thanks Misty! That was really helpful!!

  • Oh, and what is the average flight speed on an unladen swallow?

    African or European?

  • Hi Anna,

    Most of our dances are in the raks sharki style, but I also perform in tribal fusion (like Rachel Brice and Sharon Kihara do) which is what we do when we dance at the Renaissance faire. I spent a few months learning American Tribal (Carolena Nericcio) although that style didn’t really appeal to me. I found that I love-love-love khaliji dance, but I don’t have too many opportunities to study it. I love dancing with props, and I’ve developed a great fondness for fan veils in the last few months. And now I’ve ordered a set of hoops to try playing with!

  • David, besides watching a ton of Shakespeare, there’s a nifty book that a former Entertainment Director at the faire used to recommend to people to help them learn the ins and outs of early modern English – Trippingly On The Tongue, by Laura Crockett. It’s more like a workbook than a textbook, and very easy to use. It’s out of stock on Amazon at the moment, but I have a copy around here somewhere.

    And about the swallows, I must consult the Book of Armaments. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere, right after the part about the orangutans and breakfast cereals. πŸ˜€

  • I’m waiting for the answer to B’s questions…
    Hurry up!

    And —
    When will you start on the new shiny?????

  • PS — I’ll toss in an answer to Meagan.
    I have a degree in the health sciences.

    *If you can find a unique voice, you can write in the commercial market. No number of degrees can give you that. You have it or you don’t.* Paraphrased from Jeff Gerecke (agent)

  • Okay, Beatriz, since you asked…

    Faraday’s Constant is either the magnitude of electric charge per mole of electrons or a pale English redhead, depending on who you ask.

    Well, Sayid and Spike are dead *sob*, and Sawyer doesn’t wash his hair very often, so I’ll go with Elliot.

    World famous author. I wouldn’t get to wear the sparkly stuff as often, but it’s not nearly as sweaty and I can do it without wearing makeup if I want to.

    If I went to Tim’s house for dinner, I’d be so starstruck I’d probably say stupid things like “I’ve got legs.” *laugh* Seriously, I don’t really have one question, but I’d love to chat with him about the way he designs magic systems that make so much damned sense. As if any one could do magic with a boiled egg, a marker and a leather shoestring.

    I think it would probably be Sawyer’s letter. Although that Jesus stick is so freaking tempting…. I think I need to go buy a lottery ticket.

  • Faith, I’m a bad girl…I’ve already started. *grin*

  • Do you have any “next step” dance advice for a previous American Tribal student (6 months or so, about four years ago) who has eaten far too many cookies to confidently go back to a group class? I’ve tried many videos and even picked up a book or two and have not as yet rediscovered the fun I used to have dancing. (Maybe it’s the music, which I am mostly sorely lacking. Recommendations?)

    Also, this painting made me think of Kestrel: http://www.nenethomas.com/Corsair%20Daemira.shtml

    Which isn’t a question, I know.

  • Kiara, Beatriz and I saw that painting at DragonCon last year, and we both thought exactly the same thing!! I love Nene Thomas’ work anyway (a friend gave me Corsair for my birthday a few years ago) and I may have to get a copy of Corsair Daemira, too.

    My first advice is to stop worrying about having eaten too many cookies to dance in front of anyone. I am a wench of great fluffiness, and I know that sometimes the world seems to heap shame on those of us who haven’t seen size six in a long, long time. But if the dancing makes you happy, that happiness makes you beautiful. Trust me.

    But until you get your courage back πŸ˜€ here are some wonderful musicians that make my hips shimmy on overdrive!

    Djinn – “The Silent D” and “The Middle East Side”
    Pete List – “Songs For Kassar”
    Solace – “Ahsas”
    Beats Antique – “Tribal Derivations” and “Collide”
    Tarkan – “Tarkan” and “Come Closer”
    Omar Faruk Tekbilek – “Whirling”
    and Bellydance Superstars Volumes 1,2 and 3

  • Now come on, Misty, tell the truth!

    We all know you had a bad case of “Oiled-Up-Half-Naked-Sting-On-The-Brain”… πŸ˜€

  • Megan,
    I haven’t met any published authors of SF/fantasy who have MFAs in creative writing, and I have met many over the past 25 years of going to conventions. Many of them have some type of college degree, but usually that is in an area which is useful for research (history, languages, some type of literature, or science). Most writers draw from their life experiences and do not depend on a degree to get them the skills and luck needed to get published.

    FYI, we aren’t published yet, but are trying very diligently to get there before the end of the year and our educational backgrounds are: Gerald has a B.A. in mass communications with a minor in art and is working on M.S. in Liberal Studies and I have a B.S. and M.S. in biomedical engineering.

  • Mikaela

    When are the next Kestrel book coming?

  • Gerald, you got me…but we can blame that on David, since he brought up the subject of “Dune” in the first place. πŸ˜€

    Mikaela, I don’t have a date yet, but as soon as I do, you can be sure I’ll shout it from the rooftops!

  • Megan> This is late, so I hope you’re reading. I knew a lot of MFAs when I went to grad school. None of them were doing work in genre fiction. Most of them, and the professors who taught them, looked down on genre fiction. There is at least one Scifi/fantasy MFA program, but it is somewhere on the East Coast. I forget where, I want to say NY… maybe PA. So, if you’re looking to stay in Souther Cal, that’s not really a good option. A friend of mine took an MFA course as an MA student (we could cross enroll, they were all English classes, just MFAs got priority) and was the recipient of much eye-rolling when she mentioned she wrote sci-fi. So, not only do all the people who posted explaining that they have NO degrees in English and are successfully have a good point, in fact, trying to get an MFA as a genre writer (any genre, I think that isn’t “literary”) can be really, really tough. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say that if you have writing samples in scifi, you’ll have a problem getting in, but it might be that bad.

    This is not to try to start an argument about how scifi etc (genre writing in general) can be literary, or can’t be (that is a debate going on out there in the world) but a lot of MFA programs are still very firmly entrenched in the “genre writing ,esp. sci-fi is schlock and we do real art here” mentality.

    Your best bet, I think, is to follow the paths the people here outline. Find your voice, read a lot, practice, etc. I’d also suggest finding a good critique group, if possible. I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from a critique group I’m in. When I joined, none of us were pulished, now two of the women have agents and several novels out or coming through Juno/Pocket, so a good critique group (which is what an MFA can provide) can work wonders!

  • One addition: sorry. I’m not knocking MFA programs or people with MFAs or anything like that. I’ve just found that they aren’t always receptive to genre fiction writing. (And I don’t know about writing scifi/fantasy poetry, though I would expect a similar response).