I’ve got my MA results back, and the news is very good indeed: I’ve got a Distinction.
As my on-the-day Tweet mentions, this was particularly significant for me because it’s never quite happened before. At GCSE I got a few As but no A*s. At A-Level I got Bs but no As. For my BA I managed an upper second class rather than a first. I realise there are a lot of letters in that sentence and that some of them may mean little to people outside the UK, but the thing to take away from it is that I pretty much went through my entire academic career without ever scoring top marks.
For the record, I also went through my entire academic career without ever failing horribly. My lowest GCSE was a B and my lowest A-Level was a C, so I was pretty consistent. The difference between my best mark and my worst mark has never been more than one step down the alphabet.
Still, since the MA was going to be my last shot at this (barring some miraculous turn of events handing me the funding for a PhD), I was determined to do the absolute best I could this time around, and for a while it was pretty nerve-wracking. I was actually on track for a Distinction through the whole course, but the way these things are marked that doesn’t mean much. As well as averaging a mark of 65 or more across all your work, you have to manage a mark of at least 70 on your final project. You can score 75 on everything up until the final project, then get a 49 on that and not even pass. The final project is pretty much the Sudden Death round of this particular academic course, which sounds much cooler than it is.
Honestly, at this point I still feel more relieved than excited. My project was an odd mix of genres–a hard sci-fi murder mystery–and tended to generate a mixed response. I chose to write it because that was the story I wanted to tell, but at the same time I felt as though I was taking a big risk if it wasn’t the story the marker(s) wanted to read. In the past, I’ve had sci-fi stories get a poor reception just because they’re sci-fi stories. That’s been enough of a concern for the last few months that, now that it’s all worked out, I’m not sure where things will go from here.
Still, actually having my MA results–and good results at that–is bound to be handy when it comes to applying for jobs: especially game writing jobs. At this point, short of actually having worked on more commercial games, I’m not sure I could be in a better position for that. In the meantime, I’ve recently started a job at a second hand hardware/game/movie shop, so at the very least I’ve got some money coming in just now. It’s also a pretty fun place to work and there’s a good chance the staff discount will go some way towards helping me upgrade the computer I used to produce The Mucky Angel. So hopefully I’ll be able to work on some more interesting things soon.