MFA in a Box: A Why to Write Book
For example, if you were a Rhodes Scholar, or you started a major national organization, or won a national championship in ping-pong—whatever. If you are lacking on credentials or exciting things, you can always put in your passions and interests. Anything that you enjoy doing, writing about or consider a hobby, especially if they are relevant to the book topic. If you have a website, a longer bio-page or anything else that helps promote your brand then you should make sure you include it at the bottom of your bio assuming this meets your goals.
But there is a right way to do it. If your bio is too long, or too full of overstated accomplishments and awards, it will turn your readers off and actually make you look less credible. Cut it down to the most important things. He has guest lectured in entrepreneurship at Princeton University since His popular blog www. Cheryl Strayed Cheryl is similar to Tim, but runs several unrelated things together in a confusing way, and mentions things that no reader would ever care about e. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages around the world.
- 1. Demonstrate your authority and credentials on your book subject (but don’t overstate it):?
- Elland Through Time!
- MFA in a Box by John Rember A Why to Write Book about creative writing.
- On Writing Nonfiction (23 books)!
- Imagining Paradise: New and Selected Poems.
- Seeing the World as a Writer Sees It.
She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children. David Perlmutter This is a long, uninterrupted string of hard to process things.
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Perlmutter is very qualified, but mentions everything including medical school awards which detracts from the overall effect. Perlmutter is a frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by such medical institutions as Columbia University, the University of Arizona, Scripps Institute, and Harvard University. He is the author of: He is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of nutritional influences in neurological disorders.
Perlmutter was the recipient of the Linus Pauling Award for his innovative approaches to neurological disorders and in addition was awarded the Denham Harmon Award for his pioneering work in the application of free radical science to clinical medicine. Perlmutter serves as Medical Advisor for The Dr. Benjamin Carson Contrast this to Dr. Carson, who focuses only on the credentials and status signifiers that the reader would care about and understand, like his specialties and companies he works for.
He and his wife, Candy, co-founded the Carson Scholars Fund www. There are over scholars in forty-five states. Ben and Candy are the parents of three grown sons and reside in Baltimore County, Maryland.
2. Include things that build credibility or are interesting to the reader (without going overboard)
High Status And Short: When you have done what Lynn has done, you can just say it quickly and succinctly. The author or coauthor of ten books, Lynn has sold 12 million copies since High Status But Undersells: Michael Lewis Contrast this to Michael Lewis, who is a very well known author, but still leaves quite a bit out of his bio that would help many readers understand who he is and why they should care even Michael Lewis is not famous enough to assume people know him.
Bad Amanda Ripley Many authors have different bios on different books because they leave the bio writing to their publisher, which is a huge mistake. You can see the difference in the author Amanda Ripley. Her bad bio is strangely both boring and overselling:. Amanda Ripley is a literary journalist whose stories on human behavior and public policy have appeared in Time, The Atlantic, and Slate and helped Time win two National Magazine Awards. Good Amanda Ripley Contrast that to this good bio, where she comes off as much more of an authority—mainly because her other books are mentioned, as were her awards.
Amanda Ripley is an investigative journalist for Time, The Atlantic and other magazines. Her work has helped Time win two National Magazine Awards. But some authors like them, as do some readers. The only place they feel appropriate to me is as About pages of websites. A student has submitted some work with the words: After a long silence, one of the student's best friends, primed, says: I've seen the experience of becoming a writer from both sides. When I began, it didn't occur to me to go on a creative writing course — there were few in the late s, and it seemed more pressing to do an academic PhD.
- How to Vote.
- A Story of the Golden Age of Greek Heroes.
- Print Edition.
I taught myself to write. I still think, for a writer who is also an insatiable reader, there is a lot to be said for the self-taught route. But since , I've started teaching creative writing in universities, and now teach at Bath Spa. Creative writing, as a discipline, may not be entirely selfless, despite any beneficial results.
Forced into the academy, a writer might run a good seminar something like this. We might discuss an aspect of technique with reference to a passage from a published piece of fiction — last week we talked about character from the outside, looking at a page of Elizabeth Bowen. Other ways of thinking about humanity might prove relevant. There are writers' statements or thoughts about what they do as writers — Arnold Bennett's glorious book on the subject, or Virginia Woolf 's counter-statement about the exterior and interior world of the mind, or any number of interviews with present-day authors.
Or we could have a look at sociologists' analysis, like that of Erving Goffman , or psychologists', or anything else that seems interesting and relevant. When student work is discussed, it has to be a safe but rigorous process. Constructive comments are insisted on; not ego-massaging niceness, but specific comments on where something has gone wrong and how it might be improved. Is the presiding consciousness the right one?
Does he need to filter everything through his awareness? Is this the right tense? What is this thing called free indirect style? You bet your sweet bippy they don't. Classes, at Bath Spa and elsewhere, differ greatly. With a faculty that includes very varied authors, there is never going to be a uniform approach. But we often find ourselves addressing recurrent issues. How can I create characters that are memorable and engaging? Top tip; incident has to keep coming from outside, and the unexpected illuminates character.
Try experimentally dropping a giant block of frozen piss through the ceiling of their room and see what they do. There are also possibilities that writers just haven't perceived. You don't have to present action as a one-off series of events; actions can be beautifully recurrent in a sentence running: She would always thank him effusively. And how rude and rare is shrugging, anyway? Your students are not, thank heaven, going to be much like you as writers. They are going to react against you with their own thoughts and creative principles.
But a good creative writing course will produce independent-thinking, craftsmanlike innovators with critical, widely curious and energetic minds. I don't know why this goal isn't more common in universities, anyway. By which I mean if it isn't on the page it doesn't exist. The connection between your mind and the reader's mind is language.
Reading is not telepathy. Like or dislike is a personal thing and tells me something about you, but nothing about the text. If you don't think something is well written, convince me.gon189.dev3.develag.com/doj-atp-4-directrices.php
So you want to be a writer … | Books | The Guardian
If you do think so, convince me. Learn from everything you read and understand how to learn from everything you read. And above all read! My classes use texts I am pretty sure they won't know because I want them to see how wide is the world of books and thought and imagination. You can write about anything you like but there must be a connection between you and the material. Ezra Pound was right. Many creative writing students start with the belief that writing is entirely the operation of point of view; in other words, that the world only exists in so far as it is perceived by a human personality.
Most of what I teach involves encouraging students to exteriorise their subjective world by fixing it to objects, instead of routing everything through the persona of Jane or John. For the reader, being trapped in the head of Jane or John, and dependent on them for every scrap of information, is the precise opposite of their own experience of existence. A story that starts with "Jane looked out of the kitchen window and thought about her life" — despite the fact that it may be perfectly true — will always be struggling to free itself from a basic unreality. Many students find this idea counterintuitive, but the easier and more effortless something looks, the more thoroughly it is underpinned by technique.
The desire to write comes easily; writing itself is technical and hard. I give my students exercises in which a certain object has to feature. I choose the object myself: The object represents the impingement of reality, and it nearly always has the effect of turning their writing inside out. Over time I've learned which objects work the best: Others — a lawnmower, a new pair of shoes — unfailingly make the writing more objective. The narrative has to find a way around it, like water has to flow around an obstacle, and the result is that the whole enterprise is given form.
I teach a class on the craft of fiction-writing at Yale, which is a hybrid of a literature course and a writing workshop. If a more traditional literature course has to do with why we're interested in writers like Henry James and James Joyce, my class focuses on how they did what they did, using only ink, paper, and the same vocabulary available to everyone. If a more traditional workshop is largely based on trial and error — write a story and we'll tell you what's wrong with it — my course is based at least partly on why writers write as they do; on the basis for their decisions.
I do remind my students, periodically, that fiction contains an element of ineluctable mystery along with its elements of craft, and that a great story or novel is great in certain ways we can elucidate, and certain ways in which we cannot. We don't dissect great literature in the belief that once all its organs are spread out on the table before us, we've got it figured out.
We read extensively and, each week, do our best to determine how certain effects were achieved by a different writer. How did James build his characters in The Aspern Papers? How did Joyce structure "The Dead"? The students perform writing exercises as we go along. During the week we spend on character, for instance, I ask them to write a single paragraph that conveys the appearance and essential nature of a character.
During the week on structure, I give them an impossible welter of information — seven different people, with twice that many interconnected dramas and conflicts — and ask them to sketch out a story, with the understanding that they can omit as much, or include as much, as they like. During the final third of the semester I simply tell my students to take what they've learned, and write a story. Any story they like. Which can be anywhere from one to 25 pages long though I encourage them to lean more toward single-digit page counts — I stress economy and precision throughout the semester.
The stories they come up with are often surprisingly good. Last week we spent half an hour or more looking in minute detail at two versions of a paragraph from Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea.
On Writing Nonfiction
She seems to achieve the compression and electric intensity of her final version through minimising the connective engineering of the syntax in her sentences, taking out explanations, excising the mediating voice from around the things seen. The students went home to work on a paragraph of their own, cutting and intensifying in that way, taking out what's flabby and banal. In the short-story class, we spent lots of time thinking about endings. Why do the endings of short stories carry so much more weight, in proportion to the whole, than the endings of novels?
We wrangle over the endings of particular stories we've been reading together — Dubliners , Eudora Welty, Agnes Owens and others. What satisfies, what doesn't? How can the writer tell when it's enough? Why has taste turned against endings that clinch too tightly, or have too much twist in the tail?
The students are working on their own stories: Rehearsing these things collectively loosens the tight fit of fear and inhibition, imagination relaxes. The writing course offers an audience. Everyone lifts their game in response to the exacting readers they'll face next Tuesday. Student writers are under pressure to learn to hear themselves, to hear how they sound, to make essential judgments about tone and pace and transition.
Of course, all writers have always had to learn this; a good writing course just crystallises the opportunity. In the past apprentice writers practised with a coterie of friends, or with their family, or with a mentor. Writing courses aren't free; but I'm sure they do help to widen the circle of opportunity, beyond the metropolitan and university cliques.
It helps to be clean and presentable when teaching. Students react to sharp odours. It can't be like the University of Iowa during John Cheever's time when you could just wander in drunk and fall asleep for two hours. Today's MFA students expect you to be awake.