Back to School: Summer 2012

It’s that time of year again- I’m registering for my summer graduate courses!

In case you weren’t reading my blog the last two years, here’s a recap of my graduate studies:
I’m enrolled in an MFA program in Children’s Literature.  It will take me about four years to complete the program and my thesis will be a complete draft of a novel (likely YA and hopefully a manuscript that will eventually see publication).  This graduate program has been my own little paradise.  I’m in love with the subject matter, the classes, the people, and the atmosphere.  It’s what I look forward to all year long.  Here are the courses I’ve taken so far:

Summer 2010
History and Criticism of Children’s Literature
Craft of Writing for Children

Summer 2011 (Click to view course descriptions and text lists for these courses)
Genre Study: Forms and Boundaries
Genre Study: Fantasy
Young Adult Science Fiction

Fall 2011 (online course)
Special Topic: Newbery Books  (text list)

Last summer was rough.  The school doesn’t recommend taking three courses, but I did it to speed the program along.  My reading list for the summer was 28 books long and had to be read in 3 months time.  I definitely learned a ton, stretched my comfort levels with certain genres, and kept my 4.0–but I have no desire to go through another summer of feeling overwhelmed.

This summer, as soon as I saw the text lists, it was sort of a no brainer what course I would be taking.  I want an easier summer than last year and I really want to focus on writing and being creative.  I didn’t want a long reading list, and I wanted books I was already interested in.  One course had 5 out of 7 books that already were on my read/to-read list and it’s a creative course.  Here’s what I’ll be taking:

Genre Study in the Craft of Writing for Children: Dystopian and Science Fiction

Course Description:
This course focuses on the fundamentals particular to the writing of science fiction short stories and novels. We’ll discuss various forms of science fiction and sub-genres with a particular emphasis on dystopian young adult fiction and read some outstanding (mostly current) books in the field. We’ll look at originality, world building, plausibility, where to get ideas, and how to set up unique consequences for your characters in an imagined future. All writing will be workshopped in a nurturing and supportive environment that will inspire growth and risk-taking.

Text list:
Anderson, M.T. Feed
Card, Orson Scott. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game
Condie, Allie. Matched
Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother
Pearson, Mary E. The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Revis, Beth. Across the Universe

The two books I hadn’t heard of are The Adoration of Jenna Fox and Little Brother.  Anyone read them?  What did you think?

I’ll also be taking an Advance Tutorial, which is essentially a writing workshop class.  I’ll be focusing on writing YA fiction, but I haven’t decided which of my WIP I’ll focus on this summer.  But a 7 book reading list sounds so much more manageable than a 28 book reading list, don’t ya think?

Next post: my review of Wither by Lauren DeStefano.  Stay tuned!

8 comments on “Back to School: Summer 2012

  1. Caroline says:

    Dude! I hope we're in the same tutorial! I think we will be since it's YA fiction… Anyway, I'm excited for you and the dystopian class. I thought about it but I've had Hillary for at least 3 classes and I wanted to mix it up. I'm so excited about this summer and seeing you! We need to make sure we hang out more.

  2. LHughes says:

    I've never had Hillary so I'm excited. And I really love science fiction and was excited that this class will focus on more contemporary books compared to Chip's class last summer that was more sci fi's roots/origins.We are definitely hanging out bunches! I won't be as overloaded and stressed this summer with three classes and I'll be able to enjoy all the wonderful people at Hollins (especially you!)

  3. fakesteph says:

    Consider me ALL kinds of jealous right now. That sounds like an AMAZING program. I'm about to start an M. Ed. program with initial license so that I can teach high school English (which will be awesome), but I kind of wish I could get an MFA in creative writing. I hope you'll post about your classes, if you think about it. I think it would be really cool to hear about what you're learning and what the experience is like. And I can live vicariously through your blog posts.

  4. LHughes says:

    I bet you'll make a great HS English teacher!I always post about my classes because we usually have pretty awesome discussions and writing up a post helps me process everything. Plus, at the end of each summer, it's fun to look back at everything and reminisce. 🙂

  5. That class sounds so awesome! I haven't heard of Little Brother, but I have heard of Cory Doctorow. And I have The Adoration of Jenna Fox on my shelf, waiting to be read! And I want to read/have read all the other books on that list! What a cool class! I wish I was taking it! And I'm glad that you'll be posting about your classes! I'll be looking forward to those posts! Okay, enough with the exclamation points, Andrea… 😉

  6. I've read Little Brother. It wasn't my favourite book ever, but I've read worse. I've read like four of the books on your list XD I want to take that course!

  7. LHughes says:

    I'm hearing good things about Adoration of Jenna Fox, and the book cover looks cool! 🙂

  8. LHughes says:

    As soon as I saw the book list for this class I HAD TO TAKE IT. ^_^I just bought Little Brother today, and was encouraged by the fact that Neil Gaiman and Scott Westerfeld had blurbs on the front. And I guess it's good you've read worse… haha

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