Kaytie M. Lee
Oct 16, 2005, 12:21 PM
Post #9 of 9
Many schools will give you the email or contact information of students who are willing to be contacted about the program. Though you're still likely to get a rosy picture, a student will be able to better answer your questions about how classes are run. Ask to be put in touch with a fiction student, and then grill that person with these questions.
Re: [jtibbett] List of Programs
My opinion, without knowing much about you or these programs:
Sounds like you would be best off in a program with a strong mentoring element. With a mentor, you'd have the same person looking at all of your pages throughout your education.
Without the opportunity for 1-on-1 work (or at least the opportunity to take the same professor's workshop more than once or twice) it's going to be more difficult to write a novel in school. Say you switch professors after writing 100 pages. Unless the new professor is very understanding and has a lot of time to kill, she is not going to want to read 100 pages before getting to your new work. She is also going to have different, often contradictory feedback for the portion you've already written and had workshopped. While it can be beneficial to receive other opinions, it can also stall the writing process.
If you are looking to focus primarily on the novel you wish to write, you may want to avoid programs with a heavy theory element. You might find yourself resentful of your time and money if you're in theory classes and having to write academic papers. (But if you plan to use your degree to teach, you will need these theory classes, as well as a TA position which will sap up your time but pad your resume.)
Finally, I'd like to suggest that the novel you write in grad school NOT be one that requires heavy research on your part. Mine was, and though I love the result, I had to take an extra year to finish it. Of course, that was in addition to writing other things as well.
Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008