Wednesday, June 15, 2011


As blog readers may or may not be aware, SetonHillWriters bloggers are students or grads of the Writing Popular Fiction MFA program at Seton Hill University. This is a so-called low residency program in which we get together for a week, twice a year (June and January), and cram in a lot of MFA stuff. The rest of the year we do things via email, chat rooms, on-line classes, etc. I bring this up because some readers may be interested in how a low-residency MFA program works and I haven't really blogged about it before.

One thing I've noticed is we really don't seem to get any time off from school. :( The official semester ended in May, but since then we've been busy getting ready for residency. What, for example, have I been doing while "off"?

  • (re)read the Common Genre Reading novel Changes by Jim Butcher for our first session of residency. Incidentally, I enjoyed it so much, I've been rereading all the Dresden Files novels in the past couple weeks. Wow, they're good.
  • made a handout, including discussion questions and powerpoint presentation, with two other students for the entire program for the first residency session
  • prepared my lesson plan and handouts for my student teaching session. I will be teaching "How to Write a Query Letter."
  • wrote a new short story and submitted it for our workshop sessions
  • contacted my unofficial mentee (Hi, Kaelyn!) and welcomed her to the program
  • contacted my new critique partners (Hi, Jennifer and Kristina!) and said hi
  • critiqued 7 stories or chapters for workshop sessions (Okay, I'm not done with this yet, but I'm working on it!)
  • wrote a new draft of my thesis novel chapter one for our "Practice Reading Aloud" workshop session
  • and, of course, made or finalized all the travel arrangements

Phew! I'm a little tuckered out and residency hasn't even started yet.

Stay tuned this week for more info about Residency.


  1. Do they have classes on-line?

  2. Hi Shelly,
    Yes, they do have classes on-line. Unfortunately, you can't get them a la carte; you must be accepted to be degree-seeking student to enroll in them. :(
    I've found my local writers group ( has a lot of really helpful classes and workshops as well as an annual conference. You should see if there's a similar group in your area. :) Good luck!