Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Third Semester Projects

One of the things that make the Stonecoast experience unique is the opportunity to explore the six concentrations (craft, creative collaboration, literary theory, publishing, social action/community service, teaching) during the third semester. The projects produced by our students continue to inspire and expand the sense of academic rigor that makes our program one of the top low residency programs in the country. The following students were featured at the student orientation panel discussion “The Third Semester Project” during the 2013 Winter Residency. Here are the student projects that were highlighted at the panel:

Bronwyn DiPeri, fiction

Using excerpts from seven fiction texts published at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century, Bronwyn showed the four primary magics used in magical realsim: physical, primitivistic/mythic, psychological, and mystical. Part of the original impetus for such a literary exploration was to discover why this mode is being used more frequently in a new wave of literary fiction, producing a body of work which has moved beyond its mid/late twentieth century post-colonial roots. This led her research to some conclusive connections between postmodernism and magical realism, and ultimately explains why incorporating magical elements can be necessary to express many inexpressible human experiences.

Kendall Giles, popular fiction

Kendall’s paper detailed his experiences interning at a literary agency in New York, his assessment of the current state of publishing, and his quest to discover how to become a professional writer. He also highlighted his behind-the-scenes investigations into the workings of a literary agency as well as author royalty statements and contracts. Finally, he itemizes his conclusions of what it takes to become a professional writer in today's publishing environment.  

Derek Hoffman, popular fiction

This project detailed a pilot study of the use of transmedia storytelling to engage a college age audience. Derek used creative collaborations to craft a printed text, website, blog, videos, and
graphic posters and tracked audience engagement with either the website or the blog. Results indicated that this approach can be effective, however future efforts would benefit from strategic planning of each component while tailoring them to the target audience.

Alan King, poetry

Alan’s third semester project was a collaborative work. Faculty mentor Scott Wolven had an idea for Alan to re-write THE HAGAKURE (way of the samurai code) from the perspective of an African American samurai. This resulted in a short story about an African American albino samurai named Cornbread Othello. As a Ronin samurai, Cornbread Othello serves no master. He is his own master. The story takes off when, while leaving a 7-Eleven after working his shift as a bouncer at a local club, Cornbread Othello stops a home burglary. The guys he beats up are part of a notorious network of criminals known as "The Hornets." Having disturbed the hive, Cornbread has to protect himself and those he loves as hired assassins set out to settle a score. While working on this project, Alan enlisted the help of a syndicated comic strip artist to turn this tale into a comic book.

Jennifer Wade, creative nonfiction

Since the sixties, documentary films have evolved artistically in parallel with the development of creative nonfiction writing. Artists of both genres now readily appropriate fictional techniques while seeking to shape a compelling story that will effectively communicate facts. Jennifer’s project looked at the quest for story across both genres. The focus was on what creative nonfiction writers can learn from documentary filmmakers about revising drafts for story.