On Sunday, January 20, 2019, 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. 

We will be featuring our soon-to-be alumni as they look back on their time at Hamline University. Today’s new graduate is Patricia Badger. She lives in Provo, Utah.

Her website will be up and running in February (2019). It will be an online camp writing retreat for writers to share their goals and concerns, with badges for accomplishments, a forum, and articles and tips for writing.

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

I’ll always be writing, but I also like to draw and sing and constantly find an exercise that won’t bore me to death. I’m also a fan of Converse shoes, not doing my hair, and eating much cheese. 

How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?

Honestly one of my friends told me she heard there was somewhere a university had a masters in creative writing. I was like, “Whaaa?” and so I just googled, “Masters degree for creative writing.” Two schools popped up. One was a masters in creative writing, but the OTHER was a master degree in creative writing for children and young adults. It was perfect! I had such a good feeling about this school! So I applied for the semester and got in!

What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?

I got my Bachelors in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and I took some creative writing classes in community college and high school. I’ve been writing books since I was fourteen, because I told my 8th grade English teacher that I wanted to write a book, and she said very seriously, “You can.” 

What do you especially remember about your first residency?

It was one of the few times in my life where I didn’t feel like I didn’t fit in or that I couldn’t express myself. I became instant friends with my cohort (something that doesn’t usually happen to me) and I had no problem being myself (something else that doesn’t usually happen to me). I just had this, like, glowing feeling of happiness that I have found my people. I have found my tribe. 

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?

I usually write fiction novels for young adults, but lately I’ve tried graphic novel script writing. At first it was SO HARD. I had to learn a new lingo and it was so boring to me. And then I really got into it and how to do it, and I love it! I also tried middle grade instead of young adult and I liked that also. 

Tell us about your Creative Thesis.

This is something I have worked on for three years now . . . BUT I HAVE STRUGGLED SO MUCH WITH IT! More than I have with anything else because the darn thing wouldn’t tell me what it wanted to be! Did it want to be a young adult novel? A middle grade novel? A graphic novel? First person? Third person? Multiple POV? All of those listed I’ve tried with this story! FINALLY, I tried it as a graphic novel and finally it felt right. So, for my Creative Thesis, I have the first 80 pages of my graphic novel. 

About the story: I realized that a lot of supernatural stories pick and choose what attributes their monsters have. But I wanted to know what people actually believed in, so my story is based on early superstitions. 

June has lived in Bakersfield her entire life. The strange things go thump in the night and the not too normal townspeople don’t phase her at all. But when a new kid, Barry, moves to town, things start to get out of hand. Not only that, but an old enemy seems to have moved back threatening June and her family. Barry has moved around constantly most of his life and gets into trouble in almost every town he and his dad visit. Barry has always looked for the supernatural in his life, but now in Bakersfield, he has finally bitten off more than he can chew. Finding real answers in this strange town might just put his life and his dad’s life in danger. 

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

Well, I learned how to write in comic form. But I’m also more aware of what my characters would actually do in a situation and this caused me to cut out dumb characters and develop my characters. In a past lecture, someone said to love all of your characters, even the evil ones and the background characters. The only way to do that was to get to know them. And I realized that the story, setting, plot, theme, are all important, but what I care about are the characters. If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t care about the story. 

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

This program is the greatest thing for any writer hoping to write for children and/or young adults! I’ve found a second home here and such a great group of friends to support me! To those students or possible students, this place is for you. The details and the personalization are incredible. Take notes, learn what you can, get excited. And as Swati Avasthi said to me: I want you to learn from books so well so that by the time you graduate, you won’t need teachers. Your books will be your teachers.