This week marks the beginning of my second year on Manchester Metropolitan University’s  Creative Writing MA. I have already begun plowing through the ten novels set for this terms Contemporary Novels II unit, having completed Everything’s Illuminated (some excellent bits punctuated with some not so much – short verdict: funny and touching in places but for the most part a bit Emperor’s New Clothes) and Going Out (nice enough but feels a bit like a short story/novella spun out to novel size because people don’t buy short stories and novellas apparently – short verdict: story starts far to early, plods for a bit, but not bad once it gets going), while listening to an audiobook of The Picture of Dorian Gray (short verdict: deserved classic) in preparation for reading Will Self’s Dorian, which I am very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into.

As I am teaching adult evening classes this year I have had to swap groups (there are two groups within my cohort) to avoid clashes and so this year is feeling even more new in ways which are both good (new people to meet and a chance to read their novels in progress as part of term two’s workshops) and bad (not being able to see how my colleagues from last year develop their already excellent drafts). Wednesday’s session is a settling in and general discussion tutorial so I should have a chance to find my feet within my new group. This year is a big one assignments-wise as well, with three due in the next twelve months. While that maybe doesn’t sound like a lot, they are in addition to working on my novel and reading the ten novels for this term’s unit. And once they are over and done there’s just me and the page belting to the finish in year three with (hopefully) a decent novel in tow.

Any of you watching my MA Novel word count and progress meter in the sidebar will know that I haven’t added any more words to it in a while. What writing time I’ve had over the summer has been spent on whipping some short stories into shape, one of which has been accepted for publication in Paraxis issue 4, while the others will be seeing the inside of Submittable very soon. I have a few little things to finish off as I power through the reading, the plan being to dive back into the novel in December. Having said that, if I am feeling confident/masochistic, I might well sign myself up for NaNoWriMo in Novemebr and power through the first draft. We’ll see.

In the meantime, this teaching writing related video, How To Talk To Your Creative Writing Professor About Your Work, made me grin. Enjoy.