On Sunday, July 16, 2017, Hamline’s Creative Writing Programs will host a Graduate Recognition ceremony to honor all the students who have completed their studies and will be receiving an MFA from Hamline University. During the months of June and July we will be featuring our soon-to-be alumni as they look back on their time at Hamline University. Today’s featured grad is: Christy L. Reid. Christy lives in Faribault, Minnesota.

What do you do when you’re not working on packets?

I’m deaf-blind and depend on braille technology to do all reading and writing. It takes me more time to work on packets, compared to hearing-sighted folks, although I enjoy the work. But when my hands aren’t busy reading or writing, I spend time with my two younger sons and my husband.

How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?

A deaf-blind friend who lives in Minnesota told me about it when I still lived in Missouri and was considering moving to MN. And then, after moving to Minnesota, an employment service, Stonearch, who has a contract with mN State Services for the Blind, helped me to get application information to the Hamline MFAC program.

What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?

After my first son was born — I have three boys — I signed up for a correspondence course in children’s literature. It was a basic course, but I worked one-on-one with an instructor who was also an author of children’s books and it paved the way in my interest in writing for children. over the years, I practiced writing stories for kids and in 2012,  published my first book simon The guide dog.

What do especially remember about your first residency?

Everyone — faculty and students — said not to worry about asking stupid questions. I never felt inferior, I always felt like an equal and that was a terrific feeling.

Have you focused on any one form (PB, novel, nonfiction; graphic novel) or age group in your writing? Tried a form you never thought you’d try?

During my first three semesters,I mostly worked on picture books and an early middle-grade novel. But I wanted to take advantage of my fifth residency writing workshop, and try something new — a YA fantasy story.

Tell us about your Creative Thesis.

It’s a complete novel, a contemporary middle-grade story, 28 chapters long, called The Hunter. It’s about the struggles of a deaf-blind eighth-grader, Hunter Henderson, at public school and his wants for friendships and adventures.

What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?

I’ve learned to use stronger verbs, avoid adverbs as much as possible, write descriptions that show emotion, rather than using telling words, deciding if a scene is effective and helps to move the story along, and techniques for adding tension, like slowing down in some places and adding more details and using shorter sentences.

Any thoughts for entering students or for people considering the program?

If you look at the program as a whole, all the work that’s required, it”s an overwhelming and crazy idea. But if you take it one step at a time and see how much you’ve learned about writing for children as you work on each packet and get your advisor’s feedback, it’s so exciting and awesome. You’ll want more and more and soon, you’ll be there graduating, too.