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MFA programs

SeoulMan

Member
What do you think of them? You know...Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in fiction, here in the USA. I don't know what the British equivalent would be. They also have MFAs for poetry, painting, theater, etc. for the arts.

Some say they're worthless, teach you to write like Raymond Chandler, and suck the creativity out of you. Others say you learn a lot about the art and craft of writing. And in the end, publishers don't care if you have an MFA or not. Or so I've heard. I'm inclined to believe this last statement but a blog I once read stated that more and more publishers are becoming like an exclusive club and WHERE you got your MFA is all too important.

The reason why I ask is because I was thinking of applying. Not sure though. It might be the biggest waste of time and money. But I might learn something. I don't know.
 

Elaina NV

New Member
What do you think of them? You know...Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in fiction, here in the USA. I don't know what the British equivalent would be. They also have MFAs for poetry, painting, theater, etc. for the arts.

Some say they're worthless, teach you to write like Raymond Chandler, and suck the creativity out of you. Others say you learn a lot about the art and craft of writing. And in the end, publishers don't care if you have an MFA or not. Or so I've heard. I'm inclined to believe this last statement but a blog I once read stated that more and more publishers are becoming like an exclusive club and WHERE you got your MFA is all too important.

The reason why I ask is because I was thinking of applying. Not sure though. It might be the biggest waste of time and money. But I might learn something. I don't know.

My "sister-in-law" got her MFA and she's currently a nanny.:whistling:


I think it's a commendable degree and a very interesting one, however, here in Nevada (and in Minnesota -- where she lives) there's no work for people with an art degree, unfortunately.
 

Stewart

Active Member
What do you think of them? You know...Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in fiction, here in the USA. I don't know what the British equivalent would be.

The nearest equivalent, I suppose, would be the MA in Creative Writing. The best known establishment for this is the University of East Anglia - their MA in Creative Writing has given us the likes of Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Tracy Chevalier, and Anne Enright; all authors you'd expect to see on major prize lists.

Some say they're worthless, teach you to write like Raymond Chandler, and suck the creativity out of you. Others say you learn a lot about the art and craft of writing.
A few years back I took some creative writing classes, nothing so major as an MA and not because I felt I needed lessons, but because I needed a strict structure to ensure output. (And since it ended, my suspicion was right, I needed to write to a timetable otherwise produce nothing.) I found that in no way were you encouraged to write like anyone, but to focus on grassroots stuff like character, dialogue, etc. Wasn't the most beneficial experience of my life, especially when others around seem in it for self-congratulatory reasons and, reading over their work, you wonder why they bother. (They probably thought the same of mine.) But on a proper course with finite places and the need for a reviewable portfolio to be submitted before acceptance, I daresay the standard will be higher.

And in the end, publishers don't care if you have an MFA or not. Or so I've heard.
Of course they don't. With the amount of shit that gets published year after year, only a fraction of a percent probably have such a qualification. I think we can assume that John Grisham and Tom Clancy don't have one.
 

SFG75

Well-Known Member
I think it would be an amazing experience, something that would definitely be of a benefit to you if you are inclined to the fine arts. Are you pursuing this for some type of job in the end or is it more of a personal enrichment kind of thing? If it's the former, you need to talk with one of the professors as to what route you need to go, as well as what specializations would most likely help you out in the job market.
 

SeoulMan

Member
If I did this, it would be for personal enrichment. I'm not even sure I could get accepted because it's very competitive. Almost every program has only a dozen or so seats available out of hundreds of applications. Right now, I'm in the "just thinking about it" stage.
 

impalpable

New Member
A few years back I took some creative writing classes, nothing so major as an MA and not because I felt I needed lessons, but because I needed a strict structure to ensure output. (And since it ended, my suspicion was right, I needed to write to a timetable otherwise produce nothing.) I found that in no way were you encouraged to write like anyone, but to focus on grassroots stuff like character, dialogue, etc. Wasn't the most beneficial experience of my life, especially when others around seem in it for self-congratulatory reasons and, reading over their work, you wonder why they bother. (They probably thought the same of mine.) But on a proper course with finite places and the need for a reviewable portfolio to be submitted before acceptance, I daresay the standard will be higher.


This is so true for me as well. I took short story writing and general creative writing classes during my undergraduate career and I have never had as much output as I did during those classes. Also, we were in no way persuaded to write like certain authors. There is no way I would have stood for that lol.
 
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