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lauracox737


Nov 12, 2004, 3:21 AM

Post #1 of 19 (7372 views)
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MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Can anyone suggest an MFA program that would be particularly suitable to a writer of fantasy, magical realism, and/or historical fiction? Much obliged.


pongo
Buy this book!


Nov 12, 2004, 11:11 AM

Post #2 of 19 (7360 views)
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Re: [lauracox737] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Any really should do, since the skills aren't that different from writing other fiction. Do make sure that the program is open to genre fiction -- some aren't -- but after that one is as good as another. I went into the Goddard program writing fantasy and came out writing magical realism, but not because they pushed me in that direction.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


fermat


Nov 12, 2004, 7:03 PM

Post #3 of 19 (7344 views)
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Re: [lauracox737] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Try Emerson College.


hapworth


Nov 16, 2004, 8:18 AM

Post #4 of 19 (7311 views)
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Re: [lauracox737] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

It all depends what kind of fantasy you write. If you write literary fiction that simply takes chances, many MFA programs should be open. I heard (someone else can find this out) that Stuart Dybek's story "Paper Lantern" was picked for a Best of SciFi anthology, although the story isn't a genre piece. Or if you are the next Ursula LeGuin, I'd imagine that there might be many MFA programs for you to choose from.

If you consider yourself a genre writer--nothing wrong with that by the way--you'll need to check with individual programs. I've had many profs over the years that snobbishly look down on genre writing. Seton Hill is the only school I know of that offers a popular fiction graduate program. I have no idea how good the program is, though.

Hope this helps,

Hapworth


writerfangirl
Jen the Writerfangirl


Apr 30, 2006, 10:41 PM

Post #5 of 19 (7208 views)
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Re: [lauracox737] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

It has been a year and some months since anyone last replied to this thread, so I'm going to bump it up. :) I have the exact same question, and I was wondering if anyone has any new knowledge on this question.

I've been thinking about applying to U British Columbia, USC, and Irvine; are any of these colleges open to magical realism?


__________



May 1, 2006, 12:21 AM

Post #6 of 19 (7198 views)
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Re: [writerfangirl] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Aimee Bender is a UC-Irvine production, so I'm sure they're down with 'magical realism'-type stuff. Geoffrey Wolf is leaving, though, so that might change.

My own searches for writers actually calling themselves magical realists failed to impress: "It's a girl with a glass hand!" ,"in this one it's a guy with a talking foot!", "this one here has a girl with talking, glass foot!"...


six five four three two one 0 ->


writerfangirl
Jen the Writerfangirl


May 1, 2006, 1:23 AM

Post #7 of 19 (7190 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Oh really? I didn't know that Aimee Bender was. I know she's at USC, though.

I like Magical Realism, but it isn't my forte genre: Urban Fantasy is. But I'm thinking that if someone accepts Magical Realism, they are likely to accept Urban Fantasy as well. The two are semi-related.


__________



May 1, 2006, 8:07 AM

Post #8 of 19 (7175 views)
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Re: [writerfangirl] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

I don't have a clear picture of 'urban fantasy', but I think these terms all run together. Sometimes they seem like an apology or a go-ahead from elitists to explain their attraction to themes performed less succesfully, in high camp.

I liked Jonathan Lethem's The Wall of the Sky, The Wall of the Eye a lot--that could be Sci-fi or maybe 'urban fantasy'. I think it was, too, for awhile, before it became 'literature', when critics liked it.

But anyway, I'm not sure how Aimee Bender bills herself. She's at USC, along side TC Boyle, I think, and a lot of his work is fantastical. That's a PhD program, though. :(


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Clench Million
Charles

May 1, 2006, 10:11 AM

Post #9 of 19 (7158 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

My gut feeling is that if you are writing the kind of "fantasy" writing that on a good day might be put on the "general fiction" or "literary fiction" shelf at Barnes and Noble (which is to say Marquez, Borges, Lethem, Murakami, etc.) you shouldn't have much of a problem at most MFA programs. On the other hand, if you are writing "High Fantasy" or "Swords and Sorcery" stuff, I doubt there are any programs that would be very receptive to that. On the third hand, if you are doing stuff like Neil Gaiman.... I'm not sure how things would work out.


pongo
Buy this book!


May 1, 2006, 11:11 AM

Post #10 of 19 (7144 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

I was planning to do fantasy when I started my MFA (I wound up doing something more like magical realism) and I just called the program I applied to and asked if that was a problem for them. Direct questions get direct answers. But you'll have a hard time finding fantasy writers teaching in MFA programs (except Goddard).

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


writerfangirl
Jen the Writerfangirl


May 1, 2006, 11:13 AM

Post #11 of 19 (7143 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

My work is closer to that of Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher, or Laurell K. Hamilton (thought without the elaborate sex---and, please, nobody say something like, "What is there without the sex?") than to any of the ones you noted. I like a mix of real life and fantasy, but not to the heights of magical realism where the rules of reality are being broken and curved every which way.

I steer clear of High Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery because I don't like reading it. Tolkien is cool, but I don't want to write like him. The language and cultural aspects of his stories are very interesting, though.


In Reply To
My gut feeling is that if you are writing the kind of "fantasy" writing that on a good day might be put on the "general fiction" or "literary fiction" shelf at Barnes and Noble (which is to say Marquez, Borges, Lethem, Murakami, etc.) you shouldn't have much of a problem at most MFA programs. On the other hand, if you are writing "High Fantasy" or "Swords and Sorcery" stuff, I doubt there are any programs that would be very receptive to that. On the third hand, if you are doing stuff like Neil Gaiman.... I'm not sure how things would work out.



Kaytie
Kaytie M. Lee


May 1, 2006, 1:18 PM

Post #12 of 19 (7128 views)
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Re: [writerfangirl] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Hey, WriterFanGirl,

The Master's program at USC (Master of Professional Writing program) is open to all genres. When I was there I met writers interested in science fiction and fantasy as well as women's fiction writers and young adult writers. It was a mix, and a mix is not for everyone, but I thought it lent a good element to the discussion. Everyone was there to become better writers.

Aimee Bender and TC Boyle (and Percival Everett) do NOT teach in that program, as the MPW is seperate from the English department. USC has a PhD in Creative Writing, but no MFA in the usual sense. There's not much mixing between the programs, either.

The MPW is a graduate program with different demands than most of the MFAs you listed. There is less emphasis on theory or rhetoric and very few teaching opportunities, but like any MFA they're all about learning to produce quality work. In fiction they have Janet Fitch, Gina Nahai, and Susan Compo as well as others.

It's a program worth looking into but as you do, keep in mind it's not the best school when it comes to finances. They know this, however, and all the classes are late afternoon and evening so it is possible to work and attend classes at the same time.

I've posted a lot more about USC's MPW program around here, but feel free to ask me questions, too.


Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008


Kaytie
Kaytie M. Lee


May 1, 2006, 1:26 PM

Post #13 of 19 (7123 views)
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Re: [writerfangirl] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Sorry, just re-read the thread and saw you're posting about Magical Realism as opposed to fantasy. Yes? If so, if you're interested in the PhD program at USC, I know they're amenable to it--Salvadore Placensia is a PhD student there and his book, The People of Paper, published last year by McSweeney's, is quite magically realistic (or however it makes sense to say that).

In the PhD program's case, I'd say it's doubly important to work on your analytical paper for the application. It's a tough program to get into.


Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008


writerfangirl
Jen the Writerfangirl


May 1, 2006, 1:35 PM

Post #14 of 19 (7118 views)
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Re: [Kaytie] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Kaytie:

I like both genres, but my speciality is Urban Fantasy. It's harder for me to write Magical Realism, but I do occasionally. I also like reading it.


Thank you for all of your insight! :) I want a split between writing creatively and writing analytically. For the MPW, is there a literature component or is it all writing?

I'm not looking for teaching opportunities, but new insight and skills to better my craft. As of this moment, I'm not interested in pursuing a professorship.


Kaytie
Kaytie M. Lee


May 1, 2006, 1:53 PM

Post #15 of 19 (7117 views)
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Re: [writerfangirl] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Each instructor runs his or her workshop differently, but it's safe to say that you'd read published books (at least one) in all of them as part of the class. There was no analytical writing component to any of the fiction workshops I took. There were no literature classes to take, either. MPW is all about developing the skills and discipline to write.

I mentioned teaching opportunities because many students use them to offset the cost of tuition.

You might look into the Cal State Long Beach MFA program. http://www.csulb.edu/depts/english/mfa/index.html

I've heard excellent things about it. I can't say whether they're good for magical realism or not but they've got a strong emphasis on literature if you take a look at their course listing.


Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008


writerfangirl
Jen the Writerfangirl


May 1, 2006, 2:50 PM

Post #16 of 19 (7105 views)
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Re: [Kaytie] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

O.O THEY'RE SO PRETTY!!!!! Oh my. I think I could cry. They offer an upper division course in both Irish Lit. and Arthurian Lit! *squee* Not that either apply to Master requirements, but still.

...I'm really sheepish to say this, but I didn't even know that CSLB existed. That's closer to me than LA is, even. May just be difficult to get there, being how I don't drive.

And the real thing I love; No GRE requirement! Huzah!


pongo
Buy this book!


May 1, 2006, 3:06 PM

Post #17 of 19 (7099 views)
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Re: [writerfangirl] MFA for fantasy writers? Can't Post

Well, for no GRE and urban fantasy, I'll pitch Goddard again. Rachel Pollack teaches there, and she's a damn fine urban fantasist.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


TonyB79
Tony Baker

Oct 20, 2013, 4:52 PM

Post #18 of 19 (3824 views)
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Fantasy/Horror/Syfy-friendly programs Can't Post

For what it's worth, I did some research on this when I was first starting out a year or two ago, and this is what I found:

In terms of low-res programs, these are generally more friendly to "genre" fiction, with Seton Hill in Pennsylvania, Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine, and Western State Colorado University offering MFA's in Popular Fiction. The low-res program at U.C. Riverside has genre writers on its faculty, and I spoke with faculty at the Red Earth program in Oklahoma City who said that one was open to all genres as well.

For full res, the pickings are a bit slimmer, but I've spoken to the program directors at Rosemont College in Philadelphia and Rutgers-Camden in New Jersey (right across the river from Philly), and they assured me their programs are amenable to all genres. Camden even has a pretty good funding package if you manage to secure a teaching assistantship (21k a year, but of course those are Jersey/Philadelphia dollars).

Brown and North Carolina State are often presumed to be (somewhat) genre friendly because of the presence of certain faculty members, but I've never been able to get solid confirmation of this.


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


TonyB79
Tony Baker

Nov 7, 2013, 4:40 PM

Post #19 of 19 (3709 views)
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Re: [TonyB79] Fantasy/Horror/Syfy-friendly programs Can't Post

ETA: Recently found a post online by John Kessel, who's part of the creative writing faculty at North Carolina State, and he confirmed that they are very open to genre fiction. I've also heard that Southern Illinois University is amenable as well, and they supposedly fund most students.


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.

 

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