As I slide into my third–and final–year of my MFA in Creative Writing at Virginia Tech, it’s time for the last few years work to come to something. Namely, a book. For my thesis, I’m writing a collection of short stories, which vary between the short-short (two pages) and the traditional length story (fifteen to twenty pages). So far, I’ve been assembling my work from over the last two years and I have around 100+ pages finished and about 30 or so pages still to refine and polish. Though, in terms of publication, I need 150 pages minimum. For thesis purposes, the length only has to be around 125 pages. Phew. So, wow, yes I’m on track. Some of my fellow MFA-ers are writing novels, and have a much harder task ahead of them. They’re looking at 200-300 page projects. Undoubtly, though, it will pay off. Novels are several magntitudes more sellable than short story collections. That’s why then I have a back-up plan! Over the past year, I’ve been slogging away on a novel, albeit one of the mystery/thriller sort. Today I passed the 53,000 word mark, leaving some 27,000 words to go (my aim to have the first draft finished by Christmas). Doubtless, if it ever gets published, it will be under a pen name–a useful tool to separate my two possible careers: literary writer/professor, and genre buff. Although one of my professors, Ed Falco, author of the recent Godfather prequel (The Family Corleone)–a New York Times bestseller–chose to write his foray into commerical publishing under his own name, I can’t see myself doing the same thing. The two forms of writing–and the expected audience–will be quite distinct. Well, anyway, let’s hope the dream of publishing a book-length project, or two, materializes into something concrete. Say, a 6×9, one-inch thick object available in stores, and the dreaded Amazon, everywhere.