Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Portable MFA

I got The Portable MFA from the library. I am on page 28. So far it is excellent. I've worked through my mini-drought and I've written 793 words this evening. Hurrah.

The book is meant to be a portable summary of the lessons you'd learn in the New York Writer's Workshop and so far, the fiction portion is quite good. (It also address magazine, screenplay, and non-fiction writing.)

I especially recommend the Introduction by Tim Tomlinson where he discusses the uses of an MFA (and abuses, too, in programs that are poorly taught by lazy teachers). His list of top ten flaws of Creative Writing MFA programs should be required reading for anyone applying to/pursuing an MFA program and for those teaching one.

While there is nothing radical in the fiction section, I much prefer Tomlinson's approach to teaching plot and structure to McKee's. A lot of the story set-ups he examines are familiar, but I've never looked at them with a writerly perspective as story forms.

So far so good. I'll let you know what else I discover.

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