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sk1grrl


Apr 2, 2006, 7:42 PM

Post #76 of 235 (3036 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Professor Character on The L Word [In reply to] Can't Post

Nah, you didn't sound harsh at all. it's really amazing how the writers on that show have managed to create a completely unsympathetic character out of Jenny, despite all of her attendant horrific life circumstances.

Prime example: the recent episode in which Eve Ensler is playing her potential book editor, and suggests changes that shift Jenny's book away from "glorifying" cutting. But good old Jenny refuses to work with Eve the editor and make the suggested changes.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 2, 2006, 8:24 PM

Post #77 of 235 (3126 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

You've really never seen a publishable story in a grad workshop?
I think I've had some had some published from undergrad workshops...

Windi, yeah we had most of the rules in undergrad, but that doesn't mean you can't see that kinda stuff go on. It just gets cloaked a little more. I'm excited to work with serious, talented writers. I'm just wondering how different it will be from undergrad. Will the sense of hiearchy be lessened since eveyrone is hopefully talented, or will it be hightened since the better students will be publishing in magazines (hell, maybe even publishing books).
I can't imagine what it would have been like to be in a grad workshop with David Foster Wallace while his novel was being published...

Maybe I'm taking my idea of the nastiness too much from Wonderboys.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 2, 2006, 8:47 PM)


sibyline


Apr 2, 2006, 9:22 PM

Post #78 of 235 (3102 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

i personally don't find the grad mfa experience intimidating as much as inspiring. i've already done it in the visual art field, and it is refreshing when people are taking their work seriously. i sat in on a workshop at cornell where two of the second year students brought in work, and i didn't really think my work had to be "better" than theirs, since there is no objective measure of better. i feel inspired to make work that could measure up to the standard that other people set, but i also know that whatever i make is a product of my own individual experience and imagination.

i don't think of publication as the be all and end all of success, especially in writing. fortunes change really quickly in the fiction world. for me, it's about the work, and being able to say something meaningful about the world in a way that hasn't been said before.

in my experience, things really only get nasty when the person being workshopped gets defensive, or clearly thinks too highly of his or her story.


andfw


Apr 2, 2006, 10:13 PM

Post #79 of 235 (3074 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, you caught me. I'm lying. I've really seen lots and lots of first drafts in workshop that were ready for the pages of Ploughshares.

The bottom line is that if your story is of a quality that it's ready for submission and publication, you shouldn't be bringing it to workshop. Workshop doesn't exist so you can have your talent validated; it exists to expedite the revision process by giving you reader feedback. I've seen a lot of excellent first drafts, and I've read early versions of stories that wound up published. But I've never seen a story in workshop that was ready to be published as is. Nor have I ever distributed anything in workshop that was anything more polished than a working draft. Nor should I have.

BTW, I really don't want to get into a message-board dispute, but sibyline is right -- for the last week or so, I've been reading your posts and wondering if I was the only one who found a disproportionate number of them to be combative. You seem to have a habit of asking questions just for the sake of arguing about the answers you get.


In Reply To
You've really never seen a publishable story in a grad workshop?
I think I've had some had some published from undergrad workshops...

Windi, yeah we had most of the rules in undergrad, but that doesn't mean you can't see that kinda stuff go on. It just gets cloaked a little more. I'm excited to work with serious, talented writers. I'm just wondering how different it will be from undergrad. Will the sense of hiearchy be lessened since eveyrone is hopefully talented, or will it be hightened since the better students will be publishing in magazines (hell, maybe even publishing books).
I can't imagine what it would have been like to be in a grad workshop with David Foster Wallace while his novel was being published...

Maybe I'm taking my idea of the nastiness too much from Wonderboys.



Windiciti



Apr 2, 2006, 10:28 PM

Post #80 of 235 (3003 views)
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Re: [sk1grrl] Professor Character on The L Word [In reply to] Can't Post

Lucky you!
I have to wait till the third season comes out in DVD, because I don't have cable. And now that I'm going to be slogging for two years on a computer for the MFA program the temptation to pay extra for the Dish to get HBO and Showtime is really nil.


Windiciti



Apr 2, 2006, 10:52 PM

Post #81 of 235 (3061 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

No you are not the only one, jstgerma. I agree with you.

What are you so angry and bitter about, Clench Million?


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 2, 2006, 11:25 PM

Post #82 of 235 (3050 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

An interestingly combative post about how you dislike combativeness.

I like to examine issues from multiple sides and teasing out the truth. I can see how it might seem combative, but I assure you I have no interest in message board fighting or argument for the sake of argument.

Of course, I've thought similar things about other posters, but I'll leave them unnamed. Trying to call people out on a messageboard like this seems silly.

As far as the topic at hand, there are enough magazines out there that many a good first draft should be publishable. Revision and workshopping can help make it better (ie publishible at better and better journals). What is the line? No story is ever finished, just abandoned? I don't see anything wrong with that, it depends on how you write. Some people can ram through a 20 page draft without thinking or planning and scrap the entire thing, saving only two lines, in revision. Other people need to be more calculated when writing. Some writers seem to begrudge anyone who doesn't write in the way they do. I've never understood why.

I'd say the workshop is primarily a place to teach you to how to self-edit and self-critique. This is its main value to a writer. The help you get from 20 minutes of discussion about an individual piece is good and hopefully helpfull, but the other aspect is more valueable IMO.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 2, 2006, 11:51 PM)


bighark


Apr 2, 2006, 11:27 PM

Post #83 of 235 (3048 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Could have fooled me.


edwriter



Apr 3, 2006, 12:15 AM

Post #84 of 235 (3026 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm. Yes, it's true that workshop "exists to expedite the revision process." That's a great way of putting it. But for some workshop submissions, that's going to be a much more intensive (and extensive) process than it will for others.

I can think of one workshop in which someone (it wasn't me!) brought in a story that I thought was publishable pretty much as it was. The amazing thing was that the instructor, with whom I disagreed on virtually everything else all semester, also thought it was publishable, and said so during the workshop session.

I don't think the writer in this case had any sense that the story was so good. Plenty of writers--MFA students are hardly any exception here--lack perspective on their work. I think we may be more accustomed to seeing that skewed perspective manifested differently: a student brings a story into workshop thinking it's much more ready for publication than it really is, and learns a harsh truth. But the reverse can also be true, and the truth can actually be much brighter.

Yes, this was an exceptional case. But there are definitely variations in other work I've seen submitted. Some are obviously closer to publication-ready than others. You never know when someone may have worked on a piece for a very long time--workshopped it (even repeatedly) elsewhere--and may in fact just need some fairly simple polishing-up. I think that sort of working draft also deserves some time in the workshop. It can be good (even inspiring) for everyone to see (nearly) finished work, too. Hopefully, in that instance, the instructor can offer some really solid advice on pursuing publication. And if the rest of the class can learn from that, too, so much the better.

Best,
Erika


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 12:23 AM

Post #85 of 235 (3018 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I don't think the writer in this case had any sense that the story was so good. Plenty of writers--MFA students are hardly any exception here--lack perspective on their work. I think we may be more accustomed to seeing that skewed perspective manifested differently: a student brings a story into workshop thinking it's much more ready for publication than it really is, and learns a harsh truth. But the reverse can also be true, and the truth can actually be much brighter.


Yes, exactly. No one is going to be writing publishible stories every time, but some people can do them on the first draft (or with minor revisions) and some people can't recognize this.

Like I said, I think the workshop process is there to teach you how to self-edit and self-revise. If you knew how to do this perfectly, well, you wouldn't need to be in a workshop in the first place.

ETA: Also, don't you normally workshop second drafts? In my undergrad, we would normally workshop at least one story twice in a semester.

I can understand where you are coming from jstgerma in saying one shouldn't bring a polished draft to class but... on a practical level, you bring what you've worked on. If a writer writes has a great story idea he works on for the weeks leading up to his workshop day and he realizes it is publishable, he isn't going to trash the story. He isn't going to pull an all nighter writing something new just so he can turn in a worse story...

Likewise if he is revising a story for a second look in workshop, he isn't going to stop because the revision is too good and purposefully make the story worse.

You go with what you have at the time.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 3, 2006, 12:33 AM)


andfw


Apr 3, 2006, 2:19 AM

Post #86 of 235 (2994 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

It is silly to call people out on a message board. But it's not as silly as being passive-agressive: trolling for arguments, going out of your way to tell us that you do feel that "certain posters" whom you won't deign to identify are combative, being so self-congratulatory, etc. I guess I'd rather just speak up when I notice something, though I admit I'd also prefer not to argue about this.

On the subject of ... whatever the subject is, I think your reasoning behind first drafts being publishable is pretty suspect: there are too many journals, which means that some of them will publish mediocre writing, which means that we should all stop once a story's mediocre and submit it to bad journals? I seriously doubt I could get any of my first drafts published anywhere I would want to be published; you may well be able to. But I assure you that if you're envisioning a career during which you never have to bother to revise, you're in for a series of rude awakenings. I don't think it's a matter of different writing styles. Writing wonderful first drafts isn't a style -- it's an incredibly rare talent. And if a writer is that talented, why attend a workshop at all?

I similarly disagree with your assertion that workshop's primary role is to teach a writer how to self-edit and self-revise. As opposed to what? Other-editing? Other-revising? Is somebody else really going to revise our stories for us? And how exactly does submitting one's work for critique by others inspire "self-revision"? The only thing that's ever really inspired me to revise or edit my own stories was rereading them after some time away. Workshop's primary role is to let the writer know the one thing he or she can't: how it feels to read their story. Otherwise, it takes a while to get enough distance to read it with any sort of objectivity.

Edwriter -- as for your example, I've had a similar experience with a workshop draft that was very close to publishable. Maybe it even was publishable as is -- I didn't think so, but I'm not making that decision. Even so, the class identified a number of areas in which it could improve. I fail to see what good it does for anybody involved to spend workshop time speculating on a story's publishability, especially if it takes the form of "this is publishable, let's go home".

Clench Million, as for your example in which a writer realizes the night before workshop that his first draft is publishable as is: odds are, he's wrong.

I knew (and currently teach) lots of undergrads who thought their first drafts were perfect. Now I know lots of talented grad students and published authors who never think their fourth drafts are good enough. Funny how that works.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 3:25 AM

Post #87 of 235 (2982 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Haha, I wasn't meaning to imply you were the unnamed poster jst. I've never noticed your posting here before and have no opinion of your overall posting style. Only the silly comment was targted at you (I thought quite openly), as a suggestion that we discuss the subject at hand not each other.

Quote
which means that we should all stop once a story's mediocre and submit it to bad journals?

Nowhere did I say or imply this. In fact, I quite frankly stated the opposite in that same post: "Revision and workshopping can help make it better (ie publishible at better and better journals)."

You seem to be fishing for a fight.

Quote
But I assure you that if you're envisioning a career during which you never have to bother to revise, you're in for a series of rude awakenings.

I'm envisioning a career of odd straw men attacks when I'm just trying to generally discuss MFA questions and concerns, at least.

Quote
I don't think it's a matter of different writing styles. Writing wonderful first drafts isn't a style -- it's an incredibly rare talent.

I think its often writing style. Some writers can't simply pound out random stuff (as is often the advice). Some need to think and plan and revise each paragraph as they go along.


Quote
I similarly disagree with your assertion that workshop's primary role is to teach a writer how to self-edit and self-revise. As opposed to what? Other-editing

....you've never heard of other people editing work? You've never had to edit work for someone in a workshop?

The point is that through hearing other students critique your work and, more importantly through being forced to critique others works (in which you have a more objective distance), you learn how to self-critique for your future writing life. It is easier to spot flaws in other people's work and learning to critique other's work closely will help you learn to spot your own flaws.

Quote
Is somebody else really going to revise our stories for us?

There is a whole cottage industry around the concept...


Quote
The only thing that's ever really inspired me to revise or edit my own stories was rereading them after some time away.

This would seem slightly at odds with your earlier claim that the entire point of a workshop is to expedite the revision process by giving you reader feedback.
If reader feedback has never inspired you to revise or edit AND it isn't teaching you how to self-critique, what are you getting out of it jstgerma?


Quote
I fail to see what good it does for anybody involved to spend workshop time speculating on a story's publishability, especially if it takes the form of "this is publishable, let's go home".

My original comment was speculating how talented the work of grad school students will be versus undergrad. You responded talking about how it normally isn't publishible. I, at least, took this to be more a general qualitative statement and didn't mean for a long nit-picky discussion about whether something was technically finished. "publishable" work in this context (how impressive fellow student's work is) should mean, I think, obviously talented work that is pretty much ready for submission. Not necessarily work that is 100% polished nor work that can't be improved at all.

And again, don't you turn in revisions to class to? We did in undergrad...


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 3, 2006, 3:30 AM)


andfw


Apr 3, 2006, 4:39 AM

Post #88 of 235 (2978 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Only the silly comment was targted at you (I thought quite openly), as a suggestion that we discuss the subject at hand not each other.

Well, I'm with you there. And I am not fishing for a fight, though I do disagree with many of your points, and your overall demeanor chafes. It's entirely possible that I'm misconstruing your aims and/or words -- it is, after all, an internet message board.

Beyond that, line-by-line bickering seems tedious to me. I'll try to reply to some of your points on the topic.

Other people can critique work, and other people do -- both workshops and the cottage industry you so kindly informed me of, which I happen to work within. But they most certainly do not revise anybody's story for them. An author has to internalize the criticism, decide which (if any) she wants to address, and make the changes to her own story. Unless you were talking about ghostwriting, which is really another topic.

But I most strongly disagree with your assertion that writing near-perfect first drafts is a common (or anything better than rare) writing "style". Nothing in my relatively extensive experience supports that, and so I simply can't give it credence. Frankly, I think it's naive. Even if a writer is meticulous with her prose while writing a first draft, that doesn't necessarily have any bearing on the larger craft issues of plot or characterization, among others. It seems to me that such a writer would produce drafts that were superior on a line level only, and, further -- as is very common -- drafts in which the beginning was excellent and the end was rough.

I have absolutely never edited a story in a workshop. I understand that to mean line editing: correcting punctuation, spelling, grammar, etc. I wouldn't waste my time with that. If they want it edited, they can pay a copy editor. I have made larger comments when I noticed consistent issues with the prose, though. But those were always brief.

On that note, I think a lot of the disagreement here has to do with terminology. Beyond the examples above, workshop has never inspired me to revise my own stories. It has given me valuable feedback that I later used in revision, but I don't think a writer should need inspiration for anything. It's nice, but it's not necessary. In the end, I think writers need to be self-motivated. I would revise my stories with or without workshop, and with or without inspiration. What I get out of workshop is exactly what I said before: I get the one thing I can't accurately gauge, which is an understanding of how it feels to pick up my story without ever having seen it and read it from beginning to end. Of course, that's an ideal -- I don't always actually get that.

To answer your question, I've never turned in a revised story to an entire graduate workshop. For two workshops, I had to hand in a revision to the professor at the end of the semester. I've only ever workshopped first drafts, because I didn't want to waste one of my 12-14 workshops on a piece that had already been through one. A few of my classmates have turned in the same story twice, but never (that I've seen) to the same workshop, in the same semester. I'm not saying that other people shouldn't, or that I would never do it -- only that I haven't.


(This post was edited by jstgerma on Apr 3, 2006, 4:42 AM)


bighark


Apr 3, 2006, 9:28 AM

Post #89 of 235 (2948 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Clench, am I the one who will not be named? It kind of appears that way, but I can't tell if you were talking about someone else.
I mean, you've been here for a little over two weeks and your aggressive post to non-aggressive post ratio is a little lop sided. It's not hard to get lost in the all the activity. Anyway, I'm glad you edited your initial post. The one that I first responded to was a little caustic.

Now, despite your prickly online personality, I have to say that you have a clear passion and enthusiasm for writing. In terms of schools, I think any program that takes you will be lucky to have you. You clearly care deeply about the subject.

I caution you to put things in perspective, though. Based on what you've shared with the community, it looks like you had a disappointing if not awful experience as an undergrad creative writing major. I'm very sorry that happened to you, but not every workshop experience will be like the ones that you had. Not every workshop participant will be like the ones you've met.

And if these writers and workshops end up sucking just like you suspect, so what? Where's the harm? Write like crazy in your out-of-class time and consider the MFA experience an exercise in scholarly leisure. There's no shortage of authors out there who claim that the only important thing they got out of their MFAs was free time.

Anyway, Clench, I guess my point is that you seem wound up awfully tight. Loosen up. It's only writing.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 1:17 PM

Post #90 of 235 (2895 views)
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Re: [bighark] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

bighark: Yikes. No, I was not referring to you either, honest.


Quote
Based on what you've shared with the community, it looks like you had a disappointing if not awful experience as an undergrad creative writing major. ...And if these writers and workshops end up sucking just like you suspect, so what? Where's the harm? Write like crazy in your out-of-class time and consider the MFA experience an exercise in scholarly leisure.


Woah, I'm not sure how I gave that impression. I believe the only thing I said about undergrad was that none of my fellow students could write and most weren't taking writing seriously. That latter is totally fine, it was an elective to most people, just like my electives were majors for other people. The former part was dissapointing in that I didn't feel I learned much from the fellow students, but oh well.
I learned plenty from the teachers and had an excellent time as a undergrad CW major.

The only reason I brought up bad classmates before was to say I thought getting into a top MFA program would be important for getting a good peer group.

My original post here was just wondering if grad school will be the exact opposite. IE, a bunch of a really serious and talented people and I was speculating that I won't know what to expect with these new types of workshops. So no harm at all, I welcome it.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 1:29 PM

Post #91 of 235 (2886 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

jstgerma:

Yes, some editors do edit and revise your work in substantial ways. Sure, its up to you in that you can agree with those edits or not and then you can revise AGAIN, but other people can and do edit work.

It seems be me like you were being a bit pendantic before though. Let me lay it clear. When I said the workshop setting teaches you how to self-edit and self-critique your work, you can take that to mean EFFECTIVELY self-edit and to BETTER self-critique. Obviously every writer at every stage self-edits and self-critiques, but workshops should help you builds skills to do so well. Given that the above meaning shoudl have been obvious, you can at least see how your "oh, what other kind of magic editing is there!" responses seemed a little smart-assy and pendantic.

As for first drafts, you've seem to have misunderstood me. I said some writers can make near-publishible first drafts. Not near perfect. Plenty of publishible work could have been better. I'm sure few writers could turn out a story in a first draft that makes you think "perfect!"
Again, the original subject was quality at an MFA level versus undergrad level. I have to assume there will be writers whose work upon first draft makes me think "woah, a few little changes and this should be submitted."

As for the revise thing. Your original claim was that workshops sole purpose is to "expediate" the revision process and then you claimed that you've only ever revised after waiting a long time then re-reading a piece. So it didn't expediate anything. That was the contradition I was pointing to before.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 3, 2006, 1:31 PM)


sarandipidy


Apr 3, 2006, 2:00 PM

Post #92 of 235 (2868 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

<<The only reason I brought up bad classmates before was to say I thought getting into a top MFA program would be important for getting a good peer group.>>

Even though I personally applied to more selective programs (since I only chose 3 this year, and my personality pretty much requires a small program), I vehemently disagree with this. It's upsetting how every aspect of our social world is so focused on prestige/reputation/etc. On, basically, the perpetuation of myth over time (the Ivy league began because of athletics, not academics!).

There are other reasons for going to larger or less selective MFA programs than "he couldn't get into a top program," which is subjective in itself (the US News rankings, from over *TEN* years ago, are based entirely on peer review). Some writers, for example, need to stay close to home for family or employment reasons. Some writers may have found better funding elsewhere. Some writers may admire a particular faculty member that teaches at a 'less selective' program. Some writers, frankly, are so mature and independent that they could care less about name recognition. Likewise, some writers are accepted at "top" programs for reasons other than talent (like, for example, they have enough money to buy their way into Harvard, or Iowa)! And some very talented writers may be horrible classmates and critics!

We're talking about an advanced degree here. You do realize that people at less-known programs are after an advanced degree in writing, don't you? That they are often paying out of their own pocket and schedule, have spent hours toiling at applications, to be there? Why do you think that people at these schools will be less motivated? These aren't people in your undergrad class looking for an easy A or arts credit. Geez.

I don't know where you went to undergrad, but I've had my share of disappointment in my classmates at two more 'prestigious' colleges. You will find slackers at Harvard. You will find poor classmates at Iowa. You will find brilliant students at 'unknowns.' I think you are playing into one of the more ridiculous games of our culture, and for the record, there are lots of people on this board going to less-prestigious programs who I'm sure don't appreciate your viewpoint.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 2:15 PM

Post #93 of 235 (2860 views)
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Re: [sarandipidy] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you vehemently disagree with? That people should apply to the best schools they can get into so they have a good peer group, or that better schools have better peer groups? I seem to have a touched a nerve with you there, but I'm not sure what. What I said shouldn't have been controversial.

Let me first say that a good peer group is FAR FAR FAR from the only criteria one should use in picking an MFA. All I was saying is that better schools are going to have better peer groups.

As for your list. Yes, a certain minority of good writers won't be willing to move anywhere else. Sure. But that doesn't change the fact that on average the peer group at JHU or UCI is going to be better than at podunk u. As for people getting more money elsewhere, well, as a general rule those people probably werne't as good as the people who got money from the top scools. Again, I'm just saying a good peer group is important and you have a much better shot of finding that at a top program than not.

I guess we could imagine some scenario where 10 amazing writers lived right in Podunk and HAD to go to school there and all got in and Podunk would have a better group than UCI.... but it seems unlikely.

As for the US News, who said anything about that? Yes it is outdated, no one should use it as a the definitive guide to what schools are the best.

And FYI, while the Ivy League was an athletics league, but it wasn't merely "because of" athletics in terms of who got in. They picked the most prestigious schools in NE, so in that sense it was "because" of academics. In fact, a requirement to join the Ivy Leauge was that there were no athletic scholarships and that all students had teh same standard of admission. Also, the term Ivy League to mean excellent education predates the formation of the athletic league. So you are a bit misinformed there.

"Why do you think that people at these schools will be less motivated?"

Who on earth said they will be less motivated? I said they won't be as good. Very different things.

"You will find slackers at Harvard. You will find poor classmates at Iowa. You will find brilliant students at 'unknowns.' "

It is fallicious to apply a general rule to exceptional examples or even to individual examples. If I say statistically Danish people are taller than Japanese people you can't respond "I knew a tall Japaense guy once so you're wrong!"

I'm saying generally people will be better at better schools, a random counter example doesn't effect this rule of thumb (AFWIW, I didn't got to a very prestigious undegrad program at all... I'm hardly some snobby ivy league kid).


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 3, 2006, 2:25 PM)


andfw


Apr 3, 2006, 2:32 PM

Post #94 of 235 (2847 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Clench,

It's hard not to be pedantic when you continually change the terms of your statements. First you said that others revise work; I said they didn't, they only edited; now you say they "can and do edit work". Well, I never said they didn't edit. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this post at my workplace, which is a company that edits authors' manuscripts. Similarly, you first said that workshop's primary purpose was to help authors "self-edit" and "self-revise". Now you seem to be saying that it's just one of the benefits. You first said that "many a good first draft should be publishable"; now "some writers can make near-publishable first drafts." In light of your dithering and equivocation, I find it ironic that you accuse me of pedantry.

As for the role of workshop in my revision process, I explained that rather fully in my last post. Forgive me for not repeating myself -- I don't want to seem pedantic.

You're grasping at straws throughout this thread. Perhaps you should actually attend a serious workshop (one that lasts longer than 20 minutes) before pontificating about the role of workshop in the writing process and questioning those who have been through it. I teach undergrad workshops; they're not much like grad school. You strike me as long on opinions and short on experience.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 2:42 PM

Post #95 of 235 (2835 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

jst: I'm sorry, but the reason I quoted you line by line before was because you had so blatantly twisted what I said and I wanted to get you to actually quote me instead of attacking straw men.

a) The semantical debate over whether someone editing your work counts as revising seems silly. If I pay someone to substantially edit my story, is it a revision? (which was the only scenario I said others revise) I'm fine conceding incorrect usage if it will get us back to the substance of what is being said...

b) You previously implied that other people DON'T edit work, allow me to quote: "I similarly disagree with your assertion that workshop's primary role is to teach a writer how to self-edit... As opposed to what? Other-editing?"
Now you have changed your mind, which is good, but your claims here are dishonest.

c) Yes, I believe the primary purpose of a workshop should be to teach you how to critique, especially your own work. You, the writer, are going to be writing for decades after you do workshops. They should be providing you with the tools to write successfully during your life. They should not be merely helping you revise a few specific stories. This shouldn't be a controversial opinion, the whole point of academics is to give you the tools to be succesful more than teaching you the names of the presidents or some such.

d) After I pointed out several cases of you blatantly twisting what I said and attacking straw men, to watch you not even acknolwledge such but try to attack me for equivocation is a bit too much intellectual dishonesty to handle for what should be a friendly discussion about MFA programs, of all things.

It seems your concern here is to catch me tripping up on word usage or making some pendantic/misleading reply to something I said. IE, trying to trip me up on technical grounds. My concern is only with discussion the subject, not with trying to disprove you the poster, who I'm sure I won't even remember tomorrow. It seems our goals are at odds.





(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 3, 2006, 3:07 PM)


Windiciti



Apr 3, 2006, 2:43 PM

Post #96 of 235 (2834 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello, Clench Million!
Where is Podunk U?


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 2:56 PM

Post #97 of 235 (2814 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_132.html
Where is Podunk?


Windiciti



Apr 3, 2006, 3:04 PM

Post #98 of 235 (2800 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, Clench! Very cute response.

I guess what I really wanted to know for my own edification, is which MFA schools you consider to be in the "Podunk U"
category?

Thanks.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 3:11 PM

Post #99 of 235 (2795 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I thought you were just asking a cute question.
I don't have a specific program in mind here. Suffice to say when I talk about "top schools" here I don't mean top 5 ("OMG I have to go to Iowa!!")
I mean something more like top 25 schools versus ones that would be in the 40 and below range. (This is a hypothetical ranking, not the old US News one...) I'm not going to pretend to know near enough about every single MFA program to give you a list of bad schools. I used Podunk U as a stand-in for specific programs for that purpose.

Going to one of the top 25 schools will probably provide you with a good group of peers, don't you think? OTOH, the quality of work for people attending the worst programs is probably going to, well, be worse (same with faculty and other aspects of the program).

I'm honestly surprised this is the least bit controversial. Better programs are better programs. On average they will have better faculty and students. Seems self-evident.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 3, 2006, 3:14 PM)


andfw


Apr 3, 2006, 3:12 PM

Post #100 of 235 (2792 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow. Your hypocrisy in this post is truly galling. In fact, pretty much every post of yours in this thread is preposterous -- I can't even keep up with your incessant editing, much less parse your sanctimonious blather.

Obviously your concerns are not only with discussing the subject, as is plainly demonstrated by the multiple arguments you've started in this thread alone, and the collective response to your presence.

As I said before, if you want to be able to weigh in authoritatively on the nature and aims of workshop, maybe you should spend a little more time in serious workshops.

Speaking of which, best of luck in your MFA.

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