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sonshineslocs


Jul 18, 2004, 11:48 PM

Post #1 of 10 (2347 views)
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Dual concentration Can't Post

how do you folx feel about dual concentration in MFA programs? Should an writer focus on one particular area of study? Or, is it more beneficial to develop one's skills in two areas (e.g. nonfiction and poetry)? Is it unnecessarily splitting one's attentions/foci or simply honing talents in more than one area?

Your thoughts?


(This post was edited by motet on Apr 4, 2006, 4:57 PM)


freeverses
James Hall
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Jul 19, 2004, 12:39 PM

Post #2 of 10 (2331 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] dual concentration? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it okay to be of dual minds about this?

My MFA program allowed a crossover. I didn't take it; there were so many great poets to study with, and I was already missing out on studying with some of them because of residency limitations. So, I concentrated completely on the poetr.

The PhD program at Houston requires you do a crossover, and I took a class in nonfiction writing. It's been amazingly good for my writing -- I've discovered a genre that I love writing. But, more than that, I think working in two genres helps you think more about macro-level things like structure and one's approach to subject matter. Certainly, a poem about an experience isn't the same as a personal essay about the same experience -- I'm sure even the details differ (perhaps not in fact but in intensity or importance to the piece).

The MFA is a time to really hone your writing. But I think if you have leanings towards another genre, you might benefit by exploring it. The MFA is also a time to explore, test out limits, try new things, experiment a little.

Good luck!


sonshineslocs


Jul 19, 2004, 1:42 PM

Post #3 of 10 (2326 views)
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Re: [freeverses] dual concentration? [In reply to] Can't Post

sorry to set up the false dichotomy...but sometimes you gotta make folx make a decision. i feel the same way as you. i may concentrate on my primary genre (creative nonfiction), but attend (on my own time) workshops that focus on poetry.


pongo
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Jul 19, 2004, 2:01 PM

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Re: [sonshineslocs] dual concentration? [In reply to] Can't Post

Where I got my MFA, a dual concentration meant two final products. Anyone was free to attempt it, but writing two quality manuscripts in two years was beyond most of us.

Taking a few courses in an area other than your concentration is a good idea, though. As a novelist, I learned a lot by studying poetry.

dmh


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freeverses
James Hall
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Jul 19, 2004, 5:48 PM

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Re: [pongo] dual concentration? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I don't know how one can write two manuscripts in 2 years, and work full time, and attend to familial life. But what's beyond me is often easy for others.... I think in a 5-year doctoral program it's probably much easier.

I think the feed between studying two genres is really energizing too. There's something about studying poetry that really helps the detail. A friend of mine says that poets have "such small tools," and I think she means "and they do so much too." I really love the (sub?)genre of the "lyric essay" especially. Or even the "fictive" memoir (where descriptions and narrations of the imaginative or interior life are as important as "real" events in "real" time).


tibbettsbrian


Jun 28, 2006, 1:10 PM

Post #6 of 10 (2194 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] Dual concentration [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm looking for any information anyone can give me about the possibility of integrating the study of screenwriting with the study of fiction. The only two programs that I've come across so far that even have the option are UT - Austin and Goddard. Anyone one who's attended either program is also welcome to respond on the general quality of the school/faculty whether they excercised the cross-genre option or not. Most schools offer screenwriting (if at all) as a program of their film school and creative writing under the english department with no cross-over possible. I'm hoping that their are more quality programs out there that I've just missed. Thanks.


debernardi
jeff thorsby


Jun 28, 2006, 6:15 PM

Post #7 of 10 (2177 views)
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Re: [tibbettsbrian] Dual concentration [In reply to] Can't Post

You should look into the MFA at Arizona State. It is awarded by the English in connection with the Theater department. I think they only take a few screenwriters each year, and I understand them to be decently-funded.


Foust
Foust

Jun 30, 2006, 7:58 PM

Post #8 of 10 (2137 views)
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Re: [tibbettsbrian] Dual concentration [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm looking for any information anyone can give me about the possibility of integrating the study of screenwriting with the study of fiction. The only two programs that I've come across so far that even have the option are UT - Austin and Goddard. Anyone one who's attended either program is also welcome to respond on the general quality of the school/faculty whether they excercised the cross-genre option or not. Most schools offer screenwriting (if at all) as a program of their film school and creative writing under the english department with no cross-over possible. I'm hoping that their are more quality programs out there that I've just missed. Thanks.




Spalding University in Louisville, KY offers a low-res. MFA with concentrations in screenwriting, playwriting, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for children. You can take a crossover semester in a concentration outside the one you have been accepted in.


www.foustart.com


kcole7
Kristin

Jul 2, 2006, 10:55 PM

Post #9 of 10 (2102 views)
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Re: [Foust] Dual concentration [In reply to] Can't Post

UBC (both the residential and the optional-residency) requires one to work in three genres. They offer seven genres, including screenwriting.

UNC Wilmington (where I'm going) requires one to work in a secondary genre. You have the option of getting a certificate in screenwriting, which I think counts as the secondary genre in that case.

I also recommend looking into Hollins, though I don't know much about their program.


__________



Jul 3, 2006, 4:51 AM

Post #10 of 10 (2097 views)
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Re: [kcole7] Dual concentration [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting...but puzzling.

What's the point of a screenwriting certificate? Does it come in handy if you want to apply for PhD in screenwriting? Is there such a thing?


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