Friday, June 11, 2010

Pros and Cons of an MFA, by K. M. Criddle

Today our guest is the lovely and talented (and did I mention talented? Because she's talented) K. Marie Criddle. K. Marie (Or can we call you Ms Criddle?) is a children's/YA writer represented by Nathan Bransford. Her blog is fabulously entertaining because not only does she write, she also illustrates. So when she offered an illustrated Pros and Cons list--with unicorns--of course I was thrilled. (***Please note that, since I am not around to check whether or not this actually worked and is readable, Ms Criddle will be posting the same thing on her blog today, where it will no doubt go off without a hitch because she's just smart like that***)


Great. Now I want a unicorn.

23 comments:

M. Gray said...

Cute pro and con list. Go MFA! I want to get one, too.

Natalie Whipple said...

If and MFA would give me a unicorn instead of a diploma, I might go for it.

Debbie Barr said...

Yay! This is actually something I need to decide before fall semester. If I want to apply, I need to soon. I'm still not sure, though. The list helped. Especially the unicorn.

Claire Dawn said...

I'm thinking about going for two main reasons.

1. I'm not American, and I'd love to have the experience in the American market.

2. I've been teaching for 3 years now, and will probably continue after I'm a writer anyways. If I want to teach writing (and literary translation) at university, I need the degree.

Megs said...

I wish my pros-and-cons lists looked like that! It would make the decision process so much more fun and unicorn-filled. And who doesn't want a more unicorn-filled life?

Anonymous said...

I applied for an MFA a few years back, and when I didn't get in, I was incredibly RELIEVED. That was all I needed to make me realize that more school was definitely NOT what I wanted for my life. I love learning, but I hate school. :)

llt806 said...

I'm still mulling it over. Such cute illustrations!

Elaine AM Smith said...

Dolphins and unicorns don't put in an appearance on the Open University's online forum. Creative writing?

Katrina L. Lantz said...

So cute! Love the illustrations! *sigh* MFA. How you taunt me with your out-of-reach-ness.

Ms. Criddle, I'm glad they didn't beat that desire to write YA out of you! How snobbish of that meanest lady ever.

Best MFA programs? Cheapest?

Melissa said...

This is so cute. I love the illustrations and little side notes. I especially like the unicorn.

Myrna Foster said...

I'm glad you switched programs! Some of those professor people just don't get unicorns. ;o)

Nice Prose.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Cute! The thought of having an MFA is intriguing, but the work to get it isn't. I'd rather be writing a book. The unicorn...now that's another story.

K. Marie Criddle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K. Marie Criddle said...

First, thanks to everyone for your kind comments! Katrina, as far as the BEST go, I have to admit I'm highly biased towards my own school, Simmons College in Boston. (Also the alma mater of Jo Knowles and Kristen Cashore) Candlewick, HarperCollins, Charlesbridge, and Barefoot Books and other publishing houses are right around the corner, so you're assured of getting some fabulous face time with some top names in the business. Other great programs for specifically writing for children and young adults include San Diego State University...just a look at the faculty is enough to make me melt. :)

If you're looking at writing for adults, I couldn't give you the best recommendations...just avoid places that claim to aim to "beat the (genre) out of you." There, I just saved you a semester's worth of trial and error.

Again, thanks! Kiersten's readers are the unicoolest.

Heather said...

This post made me laugh! I just sent in my deposit check for my MFA program - it's a low-res program in writing for children and YAs and I'm pretty excited about it, but I definitely did a ton of research to make sure I found the right place for me. I'm also really nervous about how going back to school will affect my working/sleeping schedule, since obviously I need to still work to pay those bills (as illustrated...literally.)

Kristan said...

OMFG I LOVE THIS!

"... in the end, writingis all brain-sweat, typing-blood and revision-tears."

So, so true.

Thanks for the brilliance!

Ebony McKenna. said...

That is so gorgeous!

Whirlochre said...

Great visuals — and colour co-ordinated too.

Loved the battle against high cholesterol.

Marsha Sigman said...

This may be the best list EVER.

And I want a Unicorn too.

Heidi said...

PRISON BREAK!
THE UNICORN!
oh lordy that was adorable :D

Carrie Harris said...

Who DOESN'T want a unicorn?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post. You offer excellent advice on being careful about the school. I am a professional writer who studied creative writing at the undergrad level, and I do value that education.

Instead of going for the MFA, I decided to start working toward professional publication on my own. I am now under a multi-book contract with a major NY publisher.

A good friend of mine from college took the other route and decided to get her MFA. During her studies, she wrote a novel under the strict guidance of her professors. After earning her degree, she never sought publication of this novel. Stunned, I asked her why. "I didn't feel it was mine," she said. "It wasn't my voice any longer. It wasn't my novel. I plan to rewrite it someday."

That was many years ago. She has not rewritten the novel. She has not published anything since earning the MFA. This is why I believe your pros and cons list is quite valid. For some, an MFA is helpful. For others, not so much. For a percentage, I think it's fair to say that it might be harmful.

Any writer who wishes to be a professional should be educated in the field. But teachers cannot write your book for you, nor should you let them. Thank you so much. (Posting anonymously to protect my friend’s identity.)

Nishant said...

This is actually something I need to decide before fall semester.
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