Tomorrow is the second anniversary of The Raisin Chronicles, and what better way to celebrate than by sharing that a major obstacle to one of my life-long dreams has just been removed?
I've wanted to study writing in a structured way for...well, for most of my life, really, but there were three barriers:
2) Getting into a program (they're really competitive, especially for a degree that confers not one ounce more ability to earn a living on the recipient).
I recently learned that my employer, an institution of higher education whose mission statement begins "We help individuals turn dreams into achievable goals..." (and who, by the way, won praise from the New York Times for its focus on helping people prepare for good careers) will assist in paying for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
So now I'm ready to tackle the second barrier. I've been looking at low-residency programs (that is, programs where you do most of the work via the internet, attending on-campus workshops a couple of times a year for around 10 days each), and I've compiled a short list of favorites:
1) Bennington College in Vermont
2) Antioch Los Angeles in California
3) Hamline University in Minnesota
4) Seton Hill in Pennsylvania
Bennington sums up their program in six words: Read one hundred books. Write one. Can you imagine how much you'd know about writing after reading and analyzing a book a week for two years?
Antioch is considered one of the best low-residency programs in the country if you're interested in topics of social justice, like say, gay marriage.
Hamline offers a specialization in writing for young adults and seems like a perfect fit for my first novel, about a young woman coming of age in Minnesota in 1894--the year a massive forest fire wiped out the town of Hinckley, MN.
Seton Hill offers the only degree in the country tailored to writing popular (as opposed to literary) fiction. With what I could learn there, maybe I'd be able to finally finish my suspense thriller about the woman on the run from her porno director hubby who uses his skills to concoct a video that has everyone in the country looking for her.
My top choice has varied over time, based on what kind of story I was working on. In the end, I suspect the choice will be driven by which one (if any) will let me in. (Did I mention that it's really competitive?)
So, this fall, I will be applying to each of these programs, with the intention of starting next fall/winter. (I hope.)
I'll let you know how it goes....