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hazelmotes


Nov 21, 2005, 1:56 PM

Post #1 of 466 (32108 views)
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Iowa MFA Can't Post

So, in Fiction, Iowa asks for two-three short stories or sections of a novel, NOT TO EXCEED 100 PAGES. I think we all know that they're not going to read 100 pages of anything, but I'm wondering if submitting only 26 pages looks a little weak. I have two short stories that I think are really strong, and particularly strong together, and I have a third that I like a lot, but may need some work (it's a pretty new story) With all three stories together, I'll have about 40 pages. Does anyone have any ideas if I should submit two or threee?


(This post was edited by motet on Mar 15, 2006, 6:15 PM)


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 21, 2005, 2:24 PM

Post #2 of 466 (32077 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

When you are working on a story, do you happen to note in one of the corners of the first page (in smaller type, maybe) which draft it is? That might be a good habit to get into, so you can tell at a glance which is the latest version.

And if that information happens to slip through to the Iowa people, indicating that one of the stories is new and unrevised, they could get an idea of what your latest work is like and where you're going in your development as a writer.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


mingram
Mike Ingram

Nov 23, 2005, 4:16 PM

Post #3 of 466 (32019 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey -- I'm at Iowa now. I submitted two stories, both of which were roughly 20-25 pages in length. I'd say a couple stories is fine. I think the 100-page thing is just to be inclusive of people who either write long, or maybe want to submit a novel chunk, but I don't think you should feel any compulsion to fill it.


hazelmotes


Nov 23, 2005, 4:23 PM

Post #4 of 466 (32017 views)
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Re: [mingram] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, definately not, but I'm at about 25 pages TOTAL, which I think might look a little weak!


mingram
Mike Ingram

Nov 23, 2005, 4:33 PM

Post #5 of 466 (32016 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe not. I mean, if you write shorter stories, you write shorter stories (and more power to you -- every time I set out to write something shorter, it still manages to grow until even getting it in under 25 pages becomes a challenge).

And there's probably something to be said for brevity when the first readers (selected 2nd year students) are reading so many application packets. I really think it's quality that's important, rather than quantity.


hazelmotes


Nov 23, 2005, 6:31 PM

Post #6 of 466 (32011 views)
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Re: [mingram] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I'm going to submit 3 stories (I'll still be under 40 p) with the short ones first. That way, if they don't want to read the third, they can skip it, right?


hazelmotes


Dec 5, 2005, 10:06 PM

Post #7 of 466 (31932 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, my writing group tells me that the third story is much better than I think it is, so I think I'll do a brief revision and then submit it. I don't know. I just want to be DONE with this application process!


cymbeline


Jan 16, 2006, 3:16 PM

Post #8 of 466 (31779 views)
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Re: [mingram] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

MFA students read the application packets first? I had no idea. How many poets get into Iowa each year?


davidjoseph


Mar 15, 2006, 2:29 PM

Post #9 of 466 (31638 views)
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Iowa Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

I was accepted to Iowa's fiction department, and I had a few general questions for anyone familiar with the program:

1- What is the academic coarseload like, beyond the workshops? How many courses per semester? How easy is it to get into the literature courses you want.

2- I was offered a TA-ship in literature, (1/3 time, or one class) and I was wondering if anyone had a sense of what expectations are put on TA's.

3- How competitive is second-year funding?

4- Iowa City - what are the cool neighborhoods?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Mar 15, 2006, 4:52 PM

Post #10 of 466 (31591 views)
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Re: [davidjoseph] Iowa Questions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I was accepted to Iowa's fiction department, and I had a few general questions for anyone familiar with the program:

1- What is the academic coarseload like, beyond the workshops? How many courses per semester? How easy is it to get into the literature courses you want.

2- I was offered a TA-ship in literature, (1/3 time, or one class) and I was wondering if anyone had a sense of what expectations are put on TA's.

3- How competitive is second-year funding?

4- Iowa City - what are the cool neighborhoods?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


1. Pretty minimal. You need 12 hours a semester. Workshop (once a week) counts for six. The workshop also offers seminars taught by perm. and visiting faculty -- each seminar meets once a week and is 3 credit hours. You can also opt to take any class above the 100 level, which means mid- to upper-level undergrad or grad classes, and excludes such things as racquetball or beginning piano. Seminars are the easiest route, since they're basically once-a-week discussion groups, there are no grades and attendance is optional. The emphasis here is on your writing; everything else is kind of considered window dressing. You can take more academic classes if you want, but you don't have to.

2. I've taught rhetoric and creative writing, but I think lit is similar. You'll design your own syllabus, run the class, be responsible for grading, just like any other teacher. If you're teaching one class a semester, that probably means 3 hours a week in the classroom and maybe an hour of office hours, but that's just an estimate.

3. You'll at least get the funding in your second year that you had going in (the program acts like that's not guaranteed, but it is). And you'll likely be able to teach at least one section of creative writing. The only competitive aspect is that a handful of people (4, I think) are picked to be teaching-writing fellows, which means you teach creative writing to undergrads, but you get the money for teaching 3 classes while only teaching 2. You also have to read incoming applications for the next year, though, which is a lot of work.

4. There are plenty of good places to live. I think Connie usually sends out a packet with housing info., including people who are giving up their apartments.


franz

e-mail user

Mar 15, 2006, 7:12 PM

Post #11 of 466 (31552 views)
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Re: [mingram] Iowa Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Mike,
Just wanted to thank you for your service to the forum. If only MFA students from all the major students were as conscientious about answering questions as you were, well, a lot of panicked questions would be answered. Good luck wherever you're headed after Iowa.
Franz


Franz Knupfer, author of short stories and novels


mingram
Mike Ingram

Mar 16, 2006, 12:14 PM

Post #12 of 466 (31491 views)
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Re: [franz] Iowa Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, franz. The forum here was helpful when I was applying to schools, so I certainly don't mind providing information when I have it.


DanRosenberg


Apr 7, 2006, 5:32 PM

Post #13 of 466 (31376 views)
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Re: [cymbeline] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
MFA students read the application packets first? I had no idea. How many poets get into Iowa each year?


Hey all,

I'm at Iowa in the poetry program now, and just thought I'd respond here to clear up a little miscommunication--MFA students don't read incoming poetry submissions--on the poetry side, the decision is made entirely by the faculty. And about 20-25 poets are accepted each year, same as on the fiction side.


frontrow3rd2001
-L

Jul 29, 2006, 12:21 AM

Post #14 of 466 (31171 views)
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Re: [mingram] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

'Ello,

Okay, so, I know this is crazy, stupid, and possibly even "wack," but I was thinking lately that maybe I'd try to get into the MFA at Iowa. However, just so we're all aquainted with the proper background as to my character (who is he, really? What does he need, even desire, on a spiritual level? What's his motivation, and how does that change in the third act?), allow me to do some high-grade exposition;

I am a bad student. Not "bad" like I tried to take hostages in the administration building, but "bad" like I didn't do very well in Statistics, a failure which, to this day, fails to haunt me even in the least. My graduating GPA was sub-stellar, well below the 3.0 needed for legitimate entry into the school (but still good enough to graduate. Woo hoo!). I have won a couple of local writing contests but my work has never been published in any meaningful way, excluding reams of news articles and some things done on the restroom wall at the CostCo (many artists are realizing now that permanant marker is the ultimate medium for scatologically-themed lymrics).

But...BUT...I am fanatically devoted to The Craft (meaning art, not the movie) and have written many, many short stories, none of which are about A. Vampires, B. Ponies, or C. My parents just don't understand me but would if I died. I have also written what I charitably refer to as a book, although the "literary" value of said manuscript is still the subject of much speculation between myself and my framed photograph of Oscar Wilde (everything he says is so critical, for some reason).

I have neither taken the GREs, nor know how to spell them.

So, my question is, do I even have a shot? I know the writing program at Iowa is very, very exclusive, but even so, will anything short of a cholera epidemic that makes cadavers of the best and brightest acheive me entry?

Thanks,

-L of the French Alps


Vivien


Jul 29, 2006, 1:00 PM

Post #15 of 466 (31150 views)
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Re: [frontrow3rd2001] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there: I'm at Iowa now, and from what I understand their admissions decisions are based solely on the manuscript. It doesn't matter if you've been published or not, or where you went to school, or whether or not you have fantastic recommendations. I'm not sure about the grade thing, but it probably doesn't matter, unless the university itself has minimum requirements. You could ask about that. Good luck.


kcole7
Kristin

Jul 30, 2006, 4:45 PM

Post #16 of 466 (31111 views)
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Re: [Vivien] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

I think UofI has a minimum GPA requirement of 3.2, plus you need the GREs. If your manuscript blows them out of the water, you should be okay with the program, though you might have a problem with the suits in administration.

As for the rest...statistics? What's statistics? ;) Never took it, and never intended to. I personally think one requirement of admission into an MFA program should be a grade of C or lower in any class that involves numbers. And don't knock hostage-takers. Some may be very good writers.

Good luck!


silkfx2004


Jul 31, 2006, 8:03 PM

Post #17 of 466 (31059 views)
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Re: [kcole7] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

Setting aside (momentarily) the generally accepted fact that it's the manuscript that counts...

I got into Iowa (hi Vivien...I'm enjoying the New Yorkers ;) ) with an overall undergrad GPA of 2.47.

However, I had several things to offset that, including the fact that I got a 3.7 in my major (English, which I had been minoring in until my senior year; I made sure I explained this in my application). I also did really well on the GREs (700-something in English).

Nevertheless, I concur that you should focus on turning in the absolute best manuscript you can.


--------
Nobody but God gets it right the first time. Everybody else has to rewrite. --attributed to Stephen King

(This post was edited by silkfx2004 on Jul 31, 2006, 8:04 PM)


frontrow3rd2001
-L

Aug 11, 2006, 4:12 PM

Post #18 of 466 (30921 views)
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Re: [silkfx2004] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

Okie doke, but....

The manuscript they want, what should I focus on? Should I attempt to be literary, and if so, in what way? What did you guys write about? Did you do the short story thing, or the book thing? I have a book, but it's not extremely "literary." I value being able to tell a story more, and to be completely honest, I'm still a little hazy on what, exactly, constitutes "literary" fiction, as opposed to what I write.

-L


Clench Million
Charles

Aug 11, 2006, 7:11 PM

Post #19 of 466 (30913 views)
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Re: [frontrow3rd2001] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

The book thing?
Do you mean an extract form a novel?

The obvious answer is to send what you think is your best work. If you think your novel extract and short stories are equally good, I'd go with the short stories. Its probably what you will be doing in workshops and it shows you how you can finish stories.


Vivien


Aug 11, 2006, 10:50 PM

Post #20 of 466 (30903 views)
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Re: [frontrow3rd2001] IOWA page count [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, I don’t really know what “literary fiction” is, either. Just send them your best work, whatever you're most excited about, whatever you'd most want to read. It doesn't seem very useful to try to guess their aesthetics. I sent a contemporary story, a historical story, and a four-page excerpt. I hadn’t published anything before. I applied to six MFA programs and was accepted by three. Good luck. (And hi to silkfx!)


Stella Jervis


Aug 13, 2006, 5:30 PM

Post #21 of 466 (30849 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] Iowa MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a question about creative writing samples. I have a longer story that's 25 pages double-spaced that I think is perty good. But if I send that story, it's the only thing they would read because of the page-maximum. Do you think it's better to send two or three works so they see more of range of my writing style? I know people say "send your best work," but I guess I'm looking to see what other people sent to Iowa who got in. Did anyone just send in one substantial work, or is the norm to send in more? Thanks!


Vivien


Aug 13, 2006, 5:46 PM

Post #22 of 466 (30848 views)
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Re: [mieleja] Iowa MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Iowa lets you submit up to 100 pages, I believe. This may help:

http://www.uiowa.edu/~iww/admissions/more_requirements.htm

If you submit only one story you're sort of putting all your eggs in one basket, so I guess you just want to make sure it's a wonderful basket. In my case I think that it did help me to show a variety of styles (and narratives), because all of my submissions were fundamentally flawed. I submitted two longer stories (about 20 pages each) and a short excerpt.

And yes, I still think you should submit your best work. The trouble with me is that most of the time I can't tell what my best work is.


__________



Aug 14, 2006, 11:42 AM

Post #23 of 466 (30816 views)
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Re: [Vivien] Iowa MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Crap...I planned to send a 50-page short story. When did they up the limit?

Now I'm scared. I wonder if I should include a second well-written, but hugely flawed, story.


six five four three two one 0 ->


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Aug 14, 2006, 12:56 PM

Post #24 of 466 (30804 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Iowa MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

If you send, as your writing sample, something that shows you have nothing to learn, you aren't helping your chances of getting in. They want people whose work can be improved by their program -- people with potential, not people who are already polished.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


HopperFu


Aug 14, 2006, 3:23 PM

Post #25 of 466 (30785 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Iowa MFA [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Crap...I planned to send a 50-page short story. When did they up the limit?

Now I'm scared. I wonder if I should include a second well-written, but hugely flawed, story.


No. The maximum is 100 pages. Read the requirements, however. It may ask for two stories. I can't remember. I sent in a total of about 40 pages when I applied last year.
They aren't looking for quantity so much as quality.

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