Jan 17, 2010, 6:26 PM
Re: [jlgwriter] MFAs and getting published
I think it's worth mentioning that an MFA CAN help you if you're querying agents. I've seen several agent websites and blogs that mention the importance of an MFA. One site even asks for the names of your mentors.
Never underestimate the value of networking. Just my thoughts...
That's definitely good to know. I'm guessing those agents represent writers of literary fiction, am I right?
I read this recently by the infamous blog personality named Miss Snark. In real life, she's a literary agent under a different name. I think she's primarily interested in commercial genre fiction. I'm not sure if she reps any literary fiction writers, but I have no idea.
"MFA programs turn out newly minted graduates like Willie Wonka turns out choccie bars. Too bad the supply doesn't get eaten up so demand remains the same. Out here in the real world, there aren't enough jobs for all those MFA holders. You spend two years and enough money to buy an apartment in Queens, and you're unemployable. Yum.
I also get a lot of query letters from said newly minted graduates. Treacle is the kindest word I can use to describe it. It's self involved, pretentious, and usually imitative. My view is that it takes quite some time to get over your influences and your teachers to find your own voice. Fresh out of graduate school is too soon. And those MFA programs tend to beat down the truly original voices.
What MFA programs DO provide is time to read, at least according to Jennifer Egan and Abraham Verghese, both Iowa graduates. Both have said that to me personally, and probably publicly as well.
So, if you're going to get an MFA so you can teach, think again.
If you just need time to read, there are cheaper ways to do it.
And if you're doing it to learn how to write, don't."
Here's the link to it: http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2005/12/mfa-programs.html
(This post was edited by Colder on Jan 17, 2010, 6:29 PM)