We’re featuring our soon-to-be alumni as they look back on their time at Hamline University. Today’s new graduate is Michelle Selders. She lives in Charlotte, NC. 

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

Play competitive Yahtzee with my kids, fail miserably at Pictionary, walk, bike, hike or read (for pleasure not packets – oh my!)

How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?                    

Met Gary Schmidt at an SCBWI event – he made me cry while teaching storytelling and then said “Hey, Michelle, if you liked this and you’re interested in learning more, you should talk to my friend Mary…”

What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?      

Never took a creative writing class in school, but was trying to learn as much as possible on my own, SCBWI events, writing courses

What do especially remember about your first residency?              

“Uh…am I good enough to be here? These people are really cool. I want to be one of them when I grow up. I can do this. But…hmm…is this really an adult size bed? Where do we get more TP? Is the air conditioning on in here?”

Tell us about your Creative Thesis.          

WHAT’S IN A NAME? The Importance of Character Naming in Children’s Literature: Making Peder Purposeful, Maya Meaningful and Fraxel Fit. Spent time studying the different ways names can be used more purposefully in our writing.

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

I’ve really grown as a writer by experimenting with writing for different ages and playing with different genres & formats over the semesters. Also by working with such amazingly talented and diverse advisors. I’m finally grasping narrative distance, thinking about the “lens” I’m using, what POV shifts can really do for my stories, and the difference between world building and world view.

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

You are good enough. The teachers are amazing. Have fun. Experiment. Don’t take yourself or your writing too seriously. We’re glad you’ve joined our family!