Tag Archives: university of san francisco

Second Semester Thoughts

First week of classes of graduate school. TA-ship is going well so far. Jazzed about my workshop class – it’s a non-conventional approach I’m really responding to. We’re doing in class writing, out of class experiences to infuse in our work and some fun projects to keep us exploring the way we generate content before putting it down on the page.  Continue reading

Semester End Check In

As I approach the last week of this semester, I’d like to revisit what my life looked like last year around this time.

I was working on my submissions, traveling to the Dominican Republic, reading, visiting with family, researching low residency MFA programs as contingency plans, and trying to send out positivity vibes to expunge my crappy 2014 year.

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Third Week of Graduate School

Workshop Class

Tuesdays, we discuss the art of crafting long fiction (because we are critiquing the chapters of our novels) so the first part is a lecture and the second half is saved for workshopping classmates’ work. Our instructor discussed the myriad ways an author can choose to start his/her chapters in a novel. While he discussed the possibilities, I wrote down notes for my story, already mixing up my flow for my novel. If anything, every time I walk into class, my brain whirs with information, absorbing and instantly applying those techniques to my work. Can you tell I’m still excited about this experience after my third week? Continue reading

‘Twas the Night Before Grad School

‘Twas the night before grad school, when all the through the apartment, my roommate was stirring, by clicking a mouse. My books on the table, to be read with care, in hopes that all my writing wishes come true. Continue reading

My future writing life

The last time I mentioned the MFA, I had accepted admission to Mills College. Well…almost a month later, USF called me to tell me I was accepted! I mean, how did that even happen to me? Even now, I can’t believe I was accepted to the only two schools I applied to. Imagine if I had applied to other schools across the country? But I wasn’t about moving again, so I was happy with my decision. Continue reading

MFA selections

I’m made my decision. I’m applying to five schools this time around. I know the MFA book mentions I should apply up to seven or more schools but who has that kind of money? I sure don’t. Continue reading

The MFA Part Deux

The season for MFA applications are upon us. I have nothing suitable to send out (right now) but luckily for me, my preferred school (The University of San Francisco) receives their applications early next year.

I’m more confident about my writing even though the same issues keep cropping up (show, don’t tell; abrupt tense changes; subpar endings) but the fact that I’m aware of my weaknesses means I’m on the right track. The focus is to remedy those weaknesses and tighten my strengths in my work.

A few words of advice to the newcomers applying:

Don’t fret.

Applying to obtain your MFA is daunting. MFA programs are competitive and extremely hard to get into (I would know; I applied to seven schools the first time around and was rejected by all of them). If this is something your heart desires and is super passionate about, don’t waste time dillydallying. Shoot for your dreams! There will be frustrating days. There will be days where you will doubt every word you write. But if this is what you want, you’ll love every moment.

 
GRE, shme-re.

The great thing about the GRE is you only have to take it once. The worst thing about the GRE is having to take it for those schools who want it. The best thing about the GRE is even after you take it, there are a large group of universities that don’t even need it. Research the schools you want and gauge whether your choices – if more schools want the scores than not, take it. If only one school wants it and the others don’t, opt out. It’s not that deep at the end of the day.

Recommendations. Be proactive, B-E proactive!

Use what you got. You have ties to a writer or instructor? Send your work and then ask for a rec. Just had a writing workshop? Ask the instructor for a rec! However, if there wasn’t friendly chemistry and you didn’t respect how the instructor facilitated the class, then seek elsewhere. Be creative as well. Think about those old professors or instructors from high school or college you trusted. Send them your work and go from there. It never hurts to ask at the end of the day. If no one comes to mind, take a writing workshop or join a writing meetup group and go from there.

Community.

Do not be afraid to reach out to your fellow writers/potential reading audience. Some of these writers can be trusted people you took a workshop with or a friend who reads actively. For example, I’m part of a book club and when we discuss stories, we not only talk about the content but also the writing as well. In short, preferrably show your work to someone who reads often, not a friend who’s a casual reader.

In short, be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly of this process. Seth Abramson’s MFA book is an amazing resource through all this. It should be your MFA bible. Good luck!