Jan 4, 2005, 12:46 PM
Post #4 of 333
Actually, for writing programs, I don't think that non-professor recommendations are a big deal. Two of my three recommenders are former supervisors, and I'm sure that there are lots of MFA applicants (particularly those who are a few years removed from their undergraduate degrees) that have done the same.
Re: [sharonlouise] letters of rec from non-professors
Anyway, your crime novelist friend should write a recommendation that speaks of your abilities as a writer. If you haven't done so by now, you should definitely send this person a few of your stories so he can get an idea of your style and ablities.
But you still need other recommendations, right?
I don't know how long it's been since you were last in school, but it wouldn't hurt to look up some of your old professors to see if they're still at your alma mater. Writing letters of recommendation for formers students is part of a professor's job, so don't worry about asking for such things.
I only have one former professor as a letter writer, but I didn't have a problem getting him to write for me. Even though I haven't seen this guy in ten years, he was happy to write my letters, and only asked that I help fill him in on what I've been doing since we last met.
If asking a former professor is absolutely out of the question, then your next best bet is professional writers and editors. Do not try to get friends or family to write for you--that's definitely frowned upon, and there are some places that go so far as to explicitly prohibit such letters. If you don't have any writers beyond the crime novelist (don't forget about any instructors you may have had at workshops, continuing education classes, or retreats), then go for bosses and supervisors. These people won't be able to comment on your writing, but they can write a letter that speaks of your ability to succeed in graduate studies.
Oh, one last thing---what are the deadlines for the places where you want to apply? You should give your letter writers plenty of notice so they can plan some time to write for you. If you're trying to apply for a Fall 2005 enrollment, you better start asking about those letters right now. It's only fair to give your recommenders plenty of time (about 4 weeks at least), so you need to get hopping.