AWP Day 1

I’ve gotten some swag including a new t-shirt (which was useful as an impromptu hat to keep the sudden April snow off) and some new ideas, including ideas involving sex scenes.

This morning I went to the most pointless and depressing panel I can remember going to in a long time – this was about getting a job with an MFA, which is something that understandably all MFA graduates want (having graduated with some degree of student debt in addition to their Master’s Degree). But it began with a 10-minute self-flagellation on the part of the first speaker (a college professor in an MFA program) about how college MFA programs are getting more expensive and the price of an MFA is a major bar to admission and blah de blah de tedious blah, your guilty conscience isn’t stopping you from teaching writing to grad students. The rest of the panel was about looking for work that’s not necessarily capital-W Writing, which is something that I think most graduate-level creative writing students do anyway.

The afternoon panel I attended, on the subject of sex scenes written by women, for women. This one was more interesting. Instead of talking about feeling guilty about teaching graduate-level English to adults who signed up for this panel. One of the best pieces of advice I got out of this panel: Unless you’re writing porn, don’t worry about whether the sex scene you’re writing is hot. The thing about a sex scene is what it reveals about the characters who are in it, and about the story world.

I spent a lot of time today in the bookfair, talking to publishers and booksellers, I bought a few books and a game, caught up with a few people, and spent a lot of time inquiring about submissions and other things of interest. And got a couple of interesting fiction prompts out of the deal.

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