Friday, October 25, 2013

Familiar advice

Writer and MFA juror Elizabeth McCracken posted a series of tweets with advice about applying to MFA programs. Most of it sounds startlingly similar to advice new writers receive about finding an agent.

A few tips don't apply (you don't submit letters of recommendation to an agent, you should query a completed novel rather than a short story, etc.), but here's the gist of much of her advice:

  1. Submit a strong, completed work that you've revised and edited.
  2. Follow submission instructions.
  3. Mention the right program/agent in your essay/query letter.
  4. Don't lie.
  5. Demonstrate professionalism.
  6. Explain why you want this program/agent and not why it/she should want you.*

Visit GalleyCat for the full Storified version.

*That's not to say that writers (or applicants) should beg or downplay their credentials, but there's a place in query letters (and applications) to mention why you're interested in this person or program, and it's an opportunity to show that you've done your research. The portion of the query that discusses your book is your chance to show what you have to offer.

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