Currently using my novel draft as my project for the duration of this MFA program.
The previous packet involved a difficult subplot that, had I not pushed through it, would not have made sense to work on the rest of the book.
It involved the female protagonist's early months in Harlem, thrown into the middle of all the music, politics, sex, bootlegging, gangster-tied and gangster-owned businesses, legit and illegitimate, and how she is trying to survive her time just to live in a decent apartment. Her fight to live her life as comfortably as possible 'morally compromises her' (mentor's words, not mine) and forces her into things she would not have done had she still been home in rural Tennessee. However, she is smart and capable, and though naive and not as worldly as her counterparts, she easily wades into the corruption that threatens to drown her.
When I first came up with the idea for this novel, I never dreamed nor expected it to grow in the ways it has. Each term grows stronger with my confidence to this book. It has stretched my writing muscles and my research skills. When I run up against a wall, I am able to bounce back in quicker than before. Now that I got through this chapter, -- my mentor enjoyed it, loved the new character I introduced who will serve for most of the book, but was pleased that I strengthened my female protagonist to the point she blazes across the pages -- and with only structural and transitional issues to go over and edit, I think I got off easy.
Last month, and even in July, I did not think I would pull this chapter off. Even before the day of the deadline, when I sent it in, I was lamenting that it wouldn't fly: it was rough and coarse. Shoddy, it wasn't my best work. But it did work. And according to those in my life that know this story from its inception until now, structure issues are easier to deal with than the idea and imagination used. In other words, the fundamental core of the story is left intact and my feedback included adjectives on how I handled scenes and description, which are some of my strengths. Now, to work more on transition and structure. And get my tools ready for the next chapter, and more on that third-term essay!
If you feel this is for you, then do that MFA. But, also look for the right one for you, even if it takes a while. Like I did.