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MFA/MA Make Your Writing Glow?

Lots of students coming to see me about applying for an MA or MFA in Creative Writing. What’s the most important factor in getting in?


(A while back a Important Person at Vandy told me, “We don’t give a shit about their GPA–it’s all the writing. I’m going to say I’ve had this confirmed again and again. I am also going to say I read applications for BSU’s program. I look at a number of factors, but the writing is key.)

[I think Vandy admits about three writers  a decade, so…]

How can you make your sample glow? I’m not just talking about quality. I’m saying how can you give your 25-40 (80, Iowa! Oh, I forgot, you’re Iowa) pages the best chance of being seriously thought out/read/selected?


5 thoughts on “MFA/MA Make Your Writing Glow?

  1. It’s all I got going for me in a slush pile, Sean.

    Stephen Dixon told me that he tries to draw a picture on his stories whenever he can (esp. before his agent did most of submissions). He draws in ballpoint, beautiful things, often pictures of himself. He said, though, that he could never convince magazines to publish drawings. Although, I believe Rain Taxi did a chapbook about ten years ago with a few of his sketches.

    Anyway, real blood stains on your manuscript could probably help make or break you too.

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