I handed in my MFA thesis yesterday. In one week I’ll meet with my committee to defend it.
I’m not going to paint you a picture of a bloodsport, nor of nail-biting suspense. The defense will pretty much go like this: for one hour, I will be workshopped by three tough readers. Since my thesis is a novel, and since the novel is not finished (it currently sits at around 200 pages), most of their questions will revolve around how I see it ending. Which is a bit like asking someone new to chess to describe their endgame strategy. I can’t see that many moves ahead.
But I do have a good idea for the bulk of the second and even much of the third acts. And I know my characters pretty well at this point, so I know how what kinds of choices they might make and how others might respond.
Also, I’ve been immersed in this forest, and all the trees are starting to look mighty fuzzy. My committee—which consists of advisor Wilton Barnhardt and Jill McCorkle and John Kessel—will likely (hopefully) have input and advice that they will kindly share. And they’ll do their due diligence by wagging their fingers at me for some of my more grievous errors, which hopefully are few. The novel is about a homeless man in Orange County, California, who believes he is a cowboy, and the troubled young man and woman who fall into his orbit.