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To MFA or Not to MFA? – Girlfriends Book Club [Philosophical Monday]

“Should I get an MFA?” — that’s a recurring question that comes up from the aspiring writers that I meet a lot.

I don’t have an MFA in Creative Writing. Like quite a few novelists these days, I have an MFA in Dramatic Writing (writing for stage and screen). I’ve spoken here before about why I made the switch from screenwriting and playwriting to novel writing, but even if I had known how it would all turn out, I would have still chosen to get my MFA in Dramatic Writing. Why? Well, Dramatic Writing teaches you all the lessons that most Creative Writing MFAers have to learn the hard way: how to structure, how to outline, how not to waste your audience’s time or money, and how to write on deadline. Dramatic Writing MFA programs also tend to be more business-focused.

I think a Dramatic Writing MFA was just perfect for me. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. There are plenty of bestselling novelists, who don’t have MFAs, but are so in tune with story and perhaps more importantly, their intended audience, that really, they could teach MFA programs a thing or two. At the same time, most of this millenium’s Pulitzer winners have Creative Writing MFAs.

So really, the trick is knowing both your weaknesses and your goals…

Read the rest of this post at the Girlfriends Book Club blog!

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