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lynda

e-mail user

Nov 4, 2000, 6:54 PM

Post #526 of 2662 (17212 views)
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David: Are you limited to six exchanges of manuscripts per semester?
I'm told that most students end up exchanging manuscripts 5 times,
though there is a maximum of 6 exchanges with one's advisor each
semester. My concern is not whether the advisors will be sadistic and
pick the novel apart, but that they will get tied down reading the
work from page one forward (and suggesting revisions to earlier
chapters) instead of focusing on the more current novel development
issues. In other words, if a new advisor needs to get up to speed on
the background, that will take up a lot of the time otherwise spent on
new material (still to be generated and shaped). In your experience,
they all acquaint themselves with the whole work in a day or two? That
is pretty amazing. LY


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 4, 2000, 10:04 PM

Post #527 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Well, let's look at it as a process. (Goddard is noted for its
emphasis on process.) I began the novel in the first semester; the
project I brought with me got junked (for good reasons) three days
into the first residency. So there were maybe three or four chapters
for my second-semester advisor to catch up on. She did so before our
first meeting at the residency. My third-semester advisor had also
read most of the book so far by our last meeting at residency. For
fourth semester I went back to the second-semester advisor, and she
read the book up to that point by our last meeting. And gave me notes
on it. We only had five packets a semester, at regular three-week
intervals. I had due dates for all the packets before I left the
residency. Advisors do know that you have to finish the book in order
to graduate, and most of them are on your side in that project. When
you're concentrating, how long does it take you to read 150 pages of
manuscript? That's no more than 125 pages of a book. Even if you're
reading carefully (but not editing line by line), you really should be
able to do that in three or four hours, tops. If you can't, you won't
become a successful low-res faculty advisor. dmh


lynda

e-mail user

Nov 5, 2000, 1:58 PM

Post #528 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Interesting, but the situation still sounds different than mine. You
were very lucky to get to work with the same advisor a second time.
Someone told me that it is highly unlikely I will get to repeat
advisors during the WWC MFA program. WWC emphasizes learning from a
different writer each term, not limiting oneself to one particular
outlook. Furthermore, I'm not planning to start afresh on my novel
this first semester. (I will start afresh on short stories for a
collection, but that is the second prong of my writing projects. My
first prong is the novel-in-progress.) With the guidance of a
wonderful novel writing teacher I worked with for two consecutive
terms, I've drafted a hundred and fifty pages of manuscript. (Part of
it was used as my application writing sample at WWC.) Now I need to
work on *new* chapters and complete the entire draft. I've already
spent a lot of time revising it with the help of previous teachers. I
don't want to lose momentum, but to keep moving ahead. You asked about
my reading speed. (Or was that merely a rhetorical question?) To tell
you the truth, I've never estimated my speed of reading, though I'm
sure it is no different than anyone else's reading ability. To my
knowledge, I got through college and law school without any reading
impairment. (Boy, was there a truckload of reading!) But I doubt that
speed itself reflects depth of analysis or understanding about what
one has read. A certain amount of intellectual alertness and
reflection is required, along with a sensitivity to the imagery,
structure and thematic patterns in the novel. To read with a writer's
eye is more demanding than just getting through x number of pages. In
short, my concern is not how fast people read my manuscript, but
whether some of the time they spend on reviewing and rehashing what
was done earlier (chapters 1-12) will eat up the valuable and limited
time otherwise devoted to discussing *new, continuing* story material
(i.e. ch. 13 and onward). That is the only reason I raised this
question. Thanks for your input, dmh. I appreciate your sharing your
experiences. If anyone else has anything to contribute to this
discussion, please join us. I'd also like to hear from other students
beginning low res MFA programs with a hefty novel-in-progress. How do
you plan to spend your time efficiently, given the limits of 5 or 6
exchanges? Lynda


champa
Champa Bilwakesh

Nov 7, 2000, 3:55 PM

Post #529 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Hi Lynda I just spoke to Amy as well and she gave me the same list as
you had posted. Pete Turchi takes only one or two students and not
always every semester. So if his name is there then he is planning on
being an advisor. I am very pleased with the way my semester has gone.
Wilton has been super. He is very intutive - I don't know how else to
describe this - about where I am going with my story and makes
suggestions that I always end up taking. I have 3 solid chapters,
working on finishing two more and have more material that I can draw
on later. The annotations have been very helpful for me personally and
it helps to have something concrete to work on when my creative
writing is not going well or not going at all! And always, always,
when I am finished with an annotation I return to my writing with some
energy. I presume then that you are on the novel workshop. I will look
forward to reading yours when I receve my package. I am glad you
hooked up with Paula - she is very smart and talented. Champa


lynda

e-mail user

Nov 7, 2000, 4:56 PM

Post #530 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Champa, great to hear from you again. I am glad to hear how pleased
you are with the WWC program and with Wilton Barnhardt as your
advisor. Did you know that Paula Yoo also started her first semester
with Wilton Barnhardt as her advisor? She also had good things to say
about her experience. I signed up for the Fiction workshop, but I told
Amy I would be equally happy in the Novels Only workshop if there is
one. (I'm keen on completing a draft of a novel-in-progress.) But
Paula (with whom I exchanged some e-mails)told me that they have never
had a novels only workshop so far, even though WWC's MFA Program
office always talks about doing one. She said that a bunch of
novelists in the program keep asking for one, but then everyone still
ends up in a fiction workshop together with short story writers. I
sure hope we get to be in the same workshop! If we aren't placed in
the same one, however, we can still exchange manuscripts and get
together on our own during the residency. Lynda May I contact you via
e-mail sometime to ask you other specific questions about how you
handle your exchanges of novel manuscripts? I have some questions I'd
like to ask you in private about novel writing logistics.


islander
Tamara Kaye Sellman

Nov 10, 2000, 11:16 AM

Post #531 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

David's right: It shouldn't be a surprise that advisors can get
through single novel manuscripts within 3-4 hours. It should be
assumed. When reading is part of one's job, it's amazing just how much
of it one can get done. T


lynda

e-mail user

Nov 10, 2000, 1:39 PM

Post #532 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Thanks for your thoughts, but I've now checked with a few MFA students
at Warren Wilson College for their input. Apparently the
administration for this MFA program doesn't think the same way, since
they impose a page limit of 40 pp. on each so-called packet exchange.
(I just found out!) So. . .unless I can persuade my advisor to *break*
these rules and agree to read more than required, I'm going to have to
work with these page limits while introducing him to my
novel-in-progress. Since this is a complicated multiple consciousness
novel with three alternating narrators and something other than a
regular linear progression in time and space, this will definitely be
something of a challenge! This is NOT the kind of story anyone can
pick up by reading the last two chapters alone. There are three
alternating narrators, two of whom also relate scenes set in another
time period and place. Thanks anyway for your input. It would be great
if I could find someone who would read and critique a hundred and
fifty pages in only 3-4 hours. None of my prior writing teachers have
ever offered to do so (or claimed that they could do this). They also
limited their reading.


lynda

e-mail user

Nov 10, 2000, 1:42 PM

Post #533 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Excuse me, I typed too fast up there and need to clarify sopmething.
The forty page limit applies to DRAFT Fiction Manuscript Pages used in
exchanges (packets). But the packet itself will also entail other
pages of Annotations (papers on books read and critiqued).


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 10, 2000, 3:46 PM

Post #534 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Linda, you deliver your manuscript so far at the residency, not in one
of the packets. It's an entirely different category. dmh


pearlann
Kathy Whitman

Nov 29, 2000, 1:07 PM

Post #535 of 2662 (17212 views)
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It's quiet in here. Does anyone know if there is a low residency
program in Louisiana? I thought I remembered someone mentioning it in
a post, but I couldn't find it when I browsed through again. Kathy


elissa
Elissa Field


Nov 29, 2000, 2:06 PM

Post #536 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Kathy, University of New Orleans jsut started offering a low res MFA
in conjunction with their Prague Summer Seminars. You do the residency
in Prague, so it's not exactly *in* Louisiana, but I may have been the
one who mentioned it. I originally thought it was Univ of Louisiana
offering it. e


islander
Tamara Kaye Sellman

Nov 29, 2000, 5:30 PM

Post #537 of 2662 (17212 views)
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How long are the residencies in Prague? T


pearlann
Kathy Whitman

Nov 29, 2000, 5:41 PM

Post #538 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Thanks Elissa. I'm trying to find options closer to home than Vermont,
and I guess Prague wouldn't exactly qualify though, it sounds
interesting. Do you get an MFA with just one residency? Kathy


elissa
Elissa Field


Nov 29, 2000, 6:57 PM

Post #539 of 2662 (17212 views)
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I think the Prague Residencies are 2-4 weeks (maybe 3), and no, not
one residency. It's a 2 year program, starting with a residency, then
a residency after the first year, and a residency after the second
year, to finish -- so it's a total of 3 residencies. It's not cheap. I
don't think it was initiated so much as a solution to the MFA, as a
way for people to get credit for doing the Prague Summer Seminars. E


islander
Tamara Kaye Sellman

Nov 29, 2000, 8:21 PM

Post #540 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Well, that rules out Prague for me, unless someone here wants to
babysit my two kids for three weeks straight. T


tracyab
Tracy Burkholder

Dec 25, 2000, 4:04 PM

Post #541 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Howdy. Anyone out there? I am new to the Speakeasy as far as posting
goes. However, I have dedicated a good number of visits to reading all
of the postings in this topic and really appreciate the info I
gathered here. I am beginning to do the MFA debate . .to go or not to
go. The main point of contention being the money. Just about to finish
paying off my undergrad loans and looking towards buying my own little
house. Do I really want to take on more debt? I don't know . . . My
question is this: Anybody out there heard anything about Bard's MFA
program? I've read the info on their website. Three two-month summer
residencies and input from a variety of creative disciplines like
painting and film. But has anyone heard any first hand report of what
this somewhat different approach to a creative writing MFA is like?
Thanks, Tracy Oh . . . and happy holidays!


pearlann
Kathy Whitman

Jan 3, 2001, 2:46 PM

Post #542 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Hi Tracy-- Sorry you never got an answer in here. I don't know
anything about Bard's program or I would have posted sooner. I am in
the process of putting applications together for 5 low-res programs:
Antioch, Vermont College, Bennington, Goucher and Goddard. The other
one people oftern post about is Warren Wilson, but it doesn't have a
non-fiction program, which is what I am interested in. I keep looking
for someone with some first hand experience from Antioch (in Marina
del Rey), but haven't found anyone yet. I know what you mean about the
money. I've decided to work it out, one way or another, because I want
to go so bad. Kathy


tracyab
Tracy Burkholder

Jan 6, 2001, 1:20 PM

Post #543 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Thanks Kathy for your response. I got more info on Bard and have
decided it isn't a good match for me. I've decided that the whole MFA
thing isn't going to happen for me right now, but I'll be keeping my
ears open for any info on programs while I hide away in my house
hoarding my money and/or waiting to win the lottery. Good luck in your
quest for the perfect program. Tracy


lynda

e-mail user

Jan 12, 2001, 3:26 PM

Post #544 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Hi, everyone. Greetings from Warren Wilson College. The ten-day
residency is nearly over (the workshops and classes are over and
tonight is the graduation dinner & festivities), and I'm exhausted.
Whew! But I'm pleased to have finally met some of the WWC people who
frequent Speakeasy. If anyone has any questions about my impressions
of the first residency here, just drop me a line. Lynda


britwriter
Michelle Topham

Jan 12, 2001, 3:55 PM

Post #545 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Lynda, have you enjoyed it? Tell us more when you get chance.


klshire
Kelly Shire

Jan 14, 2001, 2:35 PM

Post #546 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Hi, Lynda! I popped in here to see if you had any news. I'm looking
forward to hearing all about your experience at WW when you get home.
Hope it's been all you've been anticipating and more.


lynda

e-mail user

Jan 14, 2001, 6:45 PM

Post #547 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Hi, Kelly and Michelle. Hi, fellow Speakeasians. I just got back late
last night and I'm trying to decompress and catch up on ten days of
little or no sleep. But I will definitely come back and share my
experiences very soon. Yes, I did enjoy myself, though the food and
dorm rooms left much to be desired. In case you were wondering, I now
know which faculty member I'll be working with on my fiction project
this term. I'll be working one-on- one with short story writer and
novelist Judith Grossman. ("How Aliens Think" is her recent collection
of short stories, as well as the name of her title piece, which just
got the 2000 Cohen Award from Ploughshares.) So I'm rather excited
about who I will be working with, though at this point I'm really,
really frazzled. Not very lucid, either. If you don't mind, I'd like
to come back when I'm more well-rested and alert? (I sound so idiotic
when I can't finish my sentences.) Lynda


elissa
Elissa Field


Jan 17, 2001, 3:48 PM

Post #548 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Lynda, welcome back. Take time to decompress and reflect, but do let
us know, when you're ready! E


robt
Robert Thomas

Jan 17, 2001, 3:57 PM

Post #549 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Hi, Lynda, it was great to get to meet you at Warren Wilson, though we
didn't get much time to visit, did we? The poets and the fiction folk
often go in different directions. It's definitely true the room and
board are not the highlight of the North Carolina residencies, though
there are some good restaurants in town if you can get there. Other
than that, what did you think?


lynda

e-mail user

Jan 17, 2001, 4:58 PM

Post #550 of 2662 (17212 views)
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Hi, Elissa. Hi, Robert. (Yes, it was great to finally meet you at
WWC.) Hi, everyone. Hmmm. . .what did I think? First of all, I found
the lectures and seminars to be quite thought- provoking and esoteric.
I was also impressed by how faculty writers actively participated in
classes taught by other faculty and students, especially in
discussions and q & a. They appeared to be an intent on learning from
the experience as the MFA students were. I was glad to see that the
faculty writers made themselves available to MFA students outside
their own designated circle of apprentices. Most of the faculty
members were approachable and open to all students there. I didn't get
the same sense of immediate access at the writers conference I
attended back in August. My only source of concern was how different
the Warren Wilson workshops were in general appproach and tone, since
there is a ban against so-called prescriptive feedback. At least in my
particular workshop sessions, discussion was much more story oriented,
rather than language choice oriented. Lots of questions about the
characters' motivations and development, rather than specific word
choices and/or metaphors. Since I'm a veteran of brutal fiction
workshops("we'll beat you up, tearing apart each sentence" variety),
it was shocking to encounter this different realm of workshopping. I
guess I'm not quite accustomed to the "kinder, gentler" approach to
workshops. Found it a bit disorienting, though I am trying my best to
keep an open mind and be receptive to the WWC method. Personally, I
think I need brutally honest feedback on craft/editing issues, but the
WWC prohibition against offering "prescriptive" feedback works against
my getting that type of input from others in workshop. But I am
estatic about getting to work one-on-one with my advisor, Judith. I
think it is a good match for my first term, since I will be working on
a novel as well as short stories. She's also willing to give me the
prescriptive feedback I crave. Lynda

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