Shannon Reed’s friends didn’t quite understand her decision to go back to school at the age of thirty-eight to earn an MFA. For writers thinking about returning to school as an older student, Reed provides a primer for what to expect, soliciting sage advice from several writers who made the same decision.
From the Magazine
Though helpful to many writers, the MFA degree is not a requirement to become a working writer, particularly if teaching is not one’s career goal. Novelist Marie Myung-Ok Lee talks about her decision to forgo the MFA, and forge her own path to publication.
How does a story collection happen? Justin Taylor, the author of two short story collections, offers advice about the various ways in which to build a book of short fiction.
The process of writing is one of discovery. A creative nonfiction writer describes how an essay in her new collection came to life, with a little unexpected help from Led Zeppelin.
Contributing editor Jeremiah Chamberlin discusses the value in understanding and appreciating the linguistics of place—in this case, the Midwest—in works of fiction, using the stories of Jack Driscoll and Bonnie Jo Campbell as examples.
Whether it’s simply spelling a name correctly in a query letter or proposing something new, advice for catching an agent’s eye can range from the obvious to the surprisingly counter-intuitive. Here, six agents speak candidly about what stands out to them.
Pessimism can be a writer’s best friend: Fiction writer Benjamin Percy explores how the worst-case scenario can bring out the best in a story.
Follow in the dactylic footsteps of Homer, leave everyone behind for a solo journey, or report the breaking news of your own life—three prompts to help start your writing off on a great adventure.
Clayton Smith has self-published several books, including his latest novel, Apocalypticon, and used his experiences to cofound Dapper Press, a company that provides essential services like editing, design, and promotion to self-published authors. Editor Kim Bookless and publicist Lissy Peace weigh in on Smith’s process, and such self-publishing necessities.