Tag Archives: MFA

Going paperless hurt

I am a big fan of technology and I’m generally very excited about the possibilities of what our ever-growing technology can bring us or do for us. Yes, even though I still don’t own a cellphone, I’m a fan of them (except for when the bozos who use them while driving—I can’t count on my fingers and toes the number of times I’ve had a near collision only to find the opposite driver busy talking on the phone—or texting. But, this is not the phone’s fault, but the idiot user—just the same way it isn’t a gun that kills people, but the idiot users). I don’t own a cellphone because I don’t want one, not because I don’t think they’re cool because I do! Heck, I remember the first ones that came out and looked like Captain Kirk’s communicator. That was cool! No, I don’t want one because I don’t generally want to feel attached to the feed at all times…I like to disconnect some.

But the ever increasing digital age brings with it some growing pains. For instance, my family in general has always tried to recycle as best we can. No, we’re not trailblazers nor are we leading the way, but we try to participate. Recycling digital, however, isn’t quite as easy. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’ve heard someone say that the old monitors have to be taken “in” and not simply discarded. I know that’s not gonna happen—mine find their way to the trash can.

But I don’t mean this to be about being green. I wanted to talk about what it means for me as a writer. I always kept copies of my work printed. If I write a new draft of something, the old one gets recycled—either as the backside for something new in the printer or into the paper recycling. I mean, I have a copy of all my written work printed out, but I don’t have all the multiple drafts. I have a “first” draft, and then a “last” draft (which, of course, is the one that gets recycled whenever I revise).

The problem with composing digitally the way I do now is there is no progression. I click “save” and the new version replaces the old. I don’t have an old draft to refer to if I’ve accidently deleted a scene (this is why I started keeping a “first” draft of my work). Something that came up with my mentor Rachel Harper during my MFA was she wanted to see a copy of my plot. The problem I had was that I’d written out a rough plot for each chapter (like I’ve always done with comics)…HOWEVER, I composed on that digital file and as the chapters were completed, the “plot outline” part of it was deleted. So the file was essentially the complete text (or first draft) up to my current spot…followed by a plot outline. Because of this, I couldn’t supply her with a plot outline for the chapters already composed.

I blame this on the digital revolution, of course.

Thanks to Rachel’s encouragement, I’ve now shifted to creating different computer files for the different tasks; meaning I have now a file that reads “plot” or “outline” or some such and another file that reads “title” of the project.

Like all changes, some of them hurt…we just have to adapt and go with it.

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Gradumicated

Well, it’s official! As of May 21, I’m officially terminal. Degreed, that is. Hooded robes. Cowhide in frames. After nearly two years, I’m now the proud holder of a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing degree from Spalding University. For those who don’t know (and don’t feel bad, I didn’t know either until I asked just what exactly did “terminal degree” mean…I mean, I wasn’t ready to die or anything like that), an MFA is a “terminal degree” in the same way a PhD is. What that means, is that I’ve gotten the highest education available specific to WRITING. Tis the end of the road. Yes, I could have gotten a PhD in Creative Writing…the difference would have been with the PhD I would have had to have had a lot of extra “fluff” courses to go with it. Things like Literature and foreign languages. But because I knew Writing was where I wanted to be, I didn’t need all that extra stuff.

The funny thing about that is, I’d been accepted into a PhD program for Creative Writing. However, after a 4 hour meeting with the director, he said I didn’t need a PhD, and that I needed to find an MFA program instead. It would be faster and serve the same purpose. The difference for me now (with degree in hand) is that I need to focus on publishing!

So, I’m excited to be done so that I can insert myself into an already crowded job market. I’ve had one near miss (was in the top 3…but didn’t get the offer) and am still on the short list for a couple that I’m very interested in. Plus, I’m still finding announced positions and applying as I discover them.

But I’m also saddened because the Spalding MFA program is such a fantastic program and I will miss the learning, encouragement, camaraderie and feeling of community that Spalding residencies foster. It’s a very “comfortable” place, even though the residencies are grueling days and hours! At my last residency, I had the opportunity to write and direct a short film. What an incredible experience. The University should be posting those soon and when they do, you can bet I’ll be floating the link all over the place. It’s a considerably altered/adapted scene from the opening of my novel, The Interns (which I’m considering renaming to Mississippi Needs Super-Heroes, Too. I’d welcome your thoughts on the titles)…which is now in my agent’s hands! Woo-hoo!

I would publicly encourage anyone and everyone who’s considered further writing education to look into the Spalding MFA program. It is a “low residency” program, which means your time physically on the Louisville, KY campus is limited. Most of the work is done from home. It’s great for the non-tradition student—basically, those with a real life which often consists of jobs and families and responsibilities and such. Not that traditional students don’t have those…yeah, okay, they usually don’t have them.

Anyway, we called PhD holders “Doctor”…so, you may now officially refer to me as “Master Mann”

bwahhhahahahha

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2010 in review

Well, 2011 is here…so long 2010! ’10 was good, but I’m looking forward to ’11 as I’m excited about what’s planned so far and what I anticipate!

I jump right in with both feet in January. I will be attending the Wizard World Convention in New Orleans as a guest on Jan. 29-30. It will be the first time I’ve done a signing session in New Orleans since around 1992! Wow! Hope to see a bunch of familiar faces there.

The very next week, on Feb. 4-5, I’ll be signing books and will lead two workshops on Graphic Storytelling at University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas.

On March 24-25, I’ll be speaking in Nashville, TN at the public library system; I’ll be at the Goodlettsville and Madison Branches talking about Graphic Novels.

Then, in May, I’ll be graduating with my MFA in Writing from Spalding University. You’re all invited to the graduation ceremonies, of course. J

I hope to announce that my agent, Kimberly, has placed my book The Interns by then, and I’m hoping I’ll know more about job prospects by then as well. I’m submitting my applications for academic year beginning in Aug. 2011 and I think most colleges and universities would like to have those positions filled by then.

WordPress did something neat this year. Below are the stats they given me for 2010. Not sure what it all means, but I DO note that I didn’t blog near as much as 2009–has SOMEthing to do with school, I’m sure. ha. I’m not promising more blogs this year, but I’m gonna try.

Here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 19 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 251 posts. There were 22 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1,005kb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 16th with 87 views. The most popular post that day was Plot to the end.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mail.yahoo.com, livingwordliterary.wordpress.com, sites.google.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for roland mann, cat & mouse, buying time, buying time roland mann, and civil war reenacting .

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Plot to the end March 2010
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2

Who’s Roland? November 2007
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3

Bibliography December 2007
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4

Projects January 2008
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5

Buying Time is Here May 2010
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