Feb 2, 2007, 12:15 PM
Post #100 of 710
Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Writing Sample
Yeah, second-guessing oneself is silly. But then -- and I say the following with respect and sympathy, because I tend to do the same -- stop doing it! "If I'd sent this story instead of that one..." That's all part of the same silly, unproductive game. And the funny thing is that this MFA appl. process is such a crapshoot that sending (what you now think is) your best story probably wouldn't have made much of a difference. That is, maybe some comm. member would have loved it, and others wouldn't have. And, instead, maybe the latter will go crazy for the stories you actually sent. You never know what they will like at the moment they have the page in front of them. (There's an article here at P and W by an actual comm. member that is quite revealing of how much of a crapshoot the process is even on their side!). Also, remember that you said that now, after revision, the story looks like your strongest piece. So maybe now it is indeed your stronger piece. But, without these revisions, maybe the story would have done you a disservice.
A clarification: I'm not saying that the process is such a crapshoot that anything can get you in, and anything can leave you out. No. You have to be a minimally good writer and have potential in order to be admitted. But after you pass that threshold, it all becomes incredibly subjective even for the people making these choices. So there's no way to predict what they will like.
And, to end on a funny note that shows how much I sympathize, let me say I did go back and forth when I had to choose my pieces, too. I drove my friends crazy, and ended up sending different stories to different places, depending on what my mood dictated at the different moments -- usually, I'd wait till the very last day to see whether I'd have some sort of revelation. The only revelation I had was that I wasted tons on money on overnight shipping.