Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Silent for a Week - Stonecoast

Hi. Yes, I've been silent for an entire week. That's not because anything unfortunate happened as I traveled back from Scotland. The traveling was rather tiring, though, a long assortment of planes, trains and automobiles. But that's not all. I didn't head straight back to Fresno, but detoured and spent a week in Maine, teaching a workshop at the Stonecoast MFA Program. It's a low-residency program, wherein the students and faculty all meet up for intensive residencies twice a year. The rest of the year the students work one on one with mentors. This provides a lot of flexibility for folks living working lives and raising families, etc.

It's a pretty cool program, not least because it's one of very few MFA programs that offers the degree with a focus on Popular Fiction. Yes, at Stonecoast you can get a graduate degree while writing crime, sci-fi, historical, fantasy, even romance fiction... Of course, you still have to do graduate-level academic work, a lengthy research paper, all sorts of presentations and panels, etc. But still, the program does acknowledge the value of genre literature. My approach is to teach/critique genre material with same attention to details I give to literary fiction. Easy. And not so easy...

Anyone out there interested in being a "Master of Fine Arts" with a focus on... well, the type of fiction that qualifies as "popular"? If so, check out Stonecoast. The faculty are first rate in general, but the Pop-fiction faculty are really cool, including Nancy Holder (who has sold approximately seven dozen book-length projects, many of them set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Smallville universes) James Patrick Kelly (Hugo and Nebula Award winning author of Burn, Strange But Not A Stranger, Think Like A Dinosaur and Other Stories, among others), Mike Kimball (bestselling author of Firewater Pond, Green Girls, Mouth to Mouth, and Undone), and Kelly Link (super-cool author of Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners and Pretty Monsters).

(That photo up above is of the Stonehouse, by the way. That's where the workshops are held, along the Maine coast...)

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7 Comments:

Blogger Living in Maine. Trying to write. said...

Great seeing you there, by the way. We split "early" after the graduation party, as we were suddenly feeling old and tired.

I was glad to get the opportunity to talk/catch up/dance with you and those shoes of yours.

Glad you made it home in one piece!

12:06 PM  
Blogger Allison Hartman Adams said...

Sorry--name got dropped. Not sure what happened, but fixed now. The above comment is from Allison. :)

12:10 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hi Alison,

Great to see you and Simon as well. Keep working on that novel!

-David.

1:02 PM  
Blogger paranoyd said...

Very cool. Nancy's a good friend of mine - I took her short story writing class last year, but I've known her a lot longer. She is a really good teacher.

Good to know you're back. Starting on the third novel anytime soon, are we? (j/k)

3:48 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Paranoyd,

Yeah, Nancy is lovely. I just got to know her better this residency. She seems a generous, down to earth person with a great sense of humor and attitude about her writing.

Book 3? Ah... no, not yet. I'm still waiting to dig into the edits on The Other Lands. It'll be a few months before I get cracking on the third. Life, you see, is keeping me busy...

1:02 PM  
Blogger paranoyd said...

Damn you, Life! *shakes fist*

I was under the impression edits were done on The other Lands. My mistake.

AFA nancy goes ...

I first met Nancy at a convention at UCLA. I'd seen her before, but never chatted with her. My brother and I talked to her at length about Buffy and horror. The next time I saw her, she not only remembered me, but asked about my brother.

For a while there, we were running into each other at the same events - San Diego really is a small town, especially for fandom. When she told me she was teaching a class, I took it. Great class.

Every once in a while we email each other. I don't get down to SD as much anymore to go to events and classes, but every time I see her, she comes right up to me and my wife and asks how we are. She even gives us signed books without us asking (even though we buy them and stand in line anyway.) She is a great person - someone I'm glad to know.

1:37 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Ah, well, I wrote a few new chapters in response to Gerry's original reading. But that was prior to the real edit. So, there will still be a detailed list of queries to face, and once I'm finished that the draft will go the copy-editor, who will send the manuscript back to me with twenty marks on every page. Kind of amazing the things they find.

Few steps left yet, but hopefully none of it will alter the Sept pub date. It's just part of the process.

1:12 PM  

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