Skip the MFA in creative writing, Andy. It's a scam run by English departments to fatten their coffers and doesn't do you much good except as a social club (you can find better ones elsewhere). You're apt to find star faculty who never teach and a whole lot of semi-published writers doing the teaching and the prevailing culture is one of mutual flattery. You waste two years hearing people tell you how wonderful you are and then you graduate and find out that nobody wants to read your stuff. If you want to write, sit down for a few weeks with the most gripping book you've ever read and analyze it to a fine hair—how it's organized, the structure, the time sequence, the characterizations—and then set out and write something similar. Don't turn up your nose at genre fiction—which MFA programs tend to do. Learn how to write a workmanlike novel. And if it doesn't get accepted for publication, no problem—go on and write another one. You're young, you have plenty of time. I wish I had done this when I was your age instead of drifting along on my own whims. Writing is a craft and you need to learn the craft before you can think about yourself as an artist. MFA programs start out by spraying genius aroma on you and that does nobody any good at all. It's a classic pyramid scheme. Don't go there unless there's a teacher whose feet you long to sit at and even so, don't inhale too deeply. And learn to spell "pastime".
MontyApollo wrote:Looking at Keillor’s advice to analyze a favorite book to a fine hair, does anybody have a particular book in mind? I like a lot of books, but I don’t know if any are the “total package."
Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:MontyApollo wrote:Looking at Keillor’s advice to analyze a favorite book to a fine hair, does anybody have a particular book in mind? I like a lot of books, but I don’t know if any are the “total package."
In Barry B. Longyear's writing book, he kinda suggests that's the wrong question. I think. I haven't gotten far into it yet.
But here's what I think he's saying. As a writer, you are (in part) the child of your influences. You will write best if you write what matters most to you. And so analyzing your favorite books is far more important than analyzing some "recommended" or "approved" or "classic" book, because it will help you to understand yourself better as a writer. You want to write the best MontyApollo story, not the best Charles Dickens story; so you want to start with analyzing why MontyApollo wants to write and what he values in a story.
Just an opinion to consider...
Grayson Morris wrote:WHAT????
I am truly stunned. I've read several of Alex's stories, and I can't believe he isn't Clarion material. Granted, I haven't done Clarion, but I know Alex can write well, and I'm just....really, really flabbergasted that Clarion thinks he isn't ready for them.
Strycher wrote:(And hey! Ann Arbor's second on the list [alphabetically I know], that's where's my step-mother went!)
Patrick S. McGinnity wrote:This year, we had an astounding number of exceptional applicants; unfortunately you were not one of them.
Patrick S. McGinnity wrote:Strycher wrote:(And hey! Ann Arbor's second on the list [alphabetically I know], that's where's my step-mother went!)
When I was applying, I got the meanest rejection from U of M, which really hurt, as I've always been a fan of their basketball team and of Ann Arbor itself. The letter went something like:
"Dear Mr. McGinnity,
Thanks for applying to the University of Michigan's MFA program in Creative Writing. This year, we had an astounding number of exceptional applicants; unfortunately you were not one of them. Better luck at less prestigious schools."
Okay, the last part I made up, but the actual rejection sentence is true to the spirit of the original.
Alex Kane (Future Clarion Graduate, once I talk to God) wrote:I didn't get into Clarion. Still waiting on a response from C. West. If any of you are adept at some sort of black magic, or voodoo, feel free to send gobs of otherworldly luck my way.
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