On Sunday, January 14, 2018 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 Renée McCormick. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

What do you do when you are not working on packets?

I don’t understand the question…

How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?

In 2012, I attended a Western Washington SCBWI writing retreat with faculty Anne Ursu. Of course, she was fantastic. I immediately knew I wanted more of what she was teaching, and she came from Hamline…

What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?

I took several years of local community college writing classes. When I needed more depth of instruction, a small group of writer friends and I recruited a published author to teach us more craft, and then I moved into an MFA program in Washington State. After a short time, my former program shut down, and I transferred into Hamline MFAC as a second semester student.

What do you especially remember about your first residency?

Mary Rockcastle and the MFAC community generously went out of their way to make me, as a transfer student, feel welcomed into the Hamline community.

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 came into the program writing young adult, but I ended the program with a middle-grade creative thesis and a picture book in workshop.

Tell us about your creative thesis.

Crissy, my protagonist, is the new kid on the block and is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, so she investigates the crime to clear her name. My creative thesis is a middle-grade contemporary friendship novel with a mystery blend. The story deals with themes of trust, acceptance, and belonging.

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

I’ve worked hard to weave my plot arcs, subplots, and emotional arcs together in a satisfying way, as well as learn techniques to induce emotion in the reader.

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

Dare to take the step; you won’t regret it. The faculty are fantastic, and the community is warm, supportive, and accepting.