MFA Nugget: Down the Rabbit Hole

Fans of my MFA Nugget series–posts sharing the wisdom and personal experiences of my on-site Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA residencies–likely assumed there would be no more such posts after I graduated last summer. Well, I’m delighted to revive that series–for one post at least–with a guest blog by J.M. Cooper. J.M. currently is …

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MFA Nugget: The End of This Creative Road

MONTPELIER, VT: At 8:45 am I will give a one-hour lecture on creative writing craft, part of my graduation requirements in my MFA in Writing with the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Assuming that goes well, I will receive my diploma during our graduation ceremony this afternoon. At this 10-day residency, I have also given …

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MFA Nugget: The Secret to Including Drama in Your Creative Writing

MONTPELIER, VERMONT: If you think this post on enhancing dramatic moments in your creative writing is going to feature craft tips, think again. Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing instructor Lawrence Sutin has some amateur psychology and insightful philosophy to guide you; that is, he did in his lecture here at my final residency, …

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MFA Nugget: Richard Russo on Winning the Pulitzer and the Writing Life

MONTPELIER, VT: If you were a writer, what would be the first question you would ask a Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist? I’m having a hard time narrowing my list down to that one question, but Vermont College of Fine Arts President Tom Greene chose to open a public discussion here at our MFA in Writing residency with …

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MFA Nugget: Do Your Opening and Closing Lines Sing?

MONTPELIER, VT: Is your creative writing work-in-progress handy? I’ll wait a moment while you fetch it. Got it in hand now? Okay. Read the opening three lines aloud. Then read the closing three lines. Did you hear music? That’s the question Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing student Nancy Levine asked in her …

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MFA Nugget: What the Heck is a Postmodern Memoir?

MONTPELIER, VT: I would never miss a lecture by Vermont College of Fine Arts instructor Patrick Madden. Like his essays, his lectures provoke curiosity and reflection. And like his essays, he remains frustratingly elusive when it comes to the simple takeaways that so work in a blog summation. But in this lecture on the “postmodern memoir” …

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MFA Nugget: Identifying A Nagging Sense of Anxiety

MONTPELIER, VT: This is supposed to be a ten-day celebration of two years of hard work. At the conclusion of this Vermont College of Fine Arts residency I will hear my name called and be handed a diploma signifying I am a Master of Fine Arts. So why have I been so crippled with anxiety …

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MFA Nugget: Finding Your Creative Writing Voice(s)

MONTPELIER, VT: “In a creative writing project, voice is everything.” So said Sue William Silverman at a lecture here at the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing summer residency. Sue, an accomplished memoirist and longtime VCFA instructor, was joined in the lecture–titled “Containing Multitudes: Shifting Voices in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction”–by fellow VCFA …

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MFA Nuggets are Coming! MFA Nuggets are Coming!

Imagine yourself completely immersed in a world of creativity and trust. For ten days and nights you participate in a creative workshop, attend lectures and readings, and engage in conversation that has nothing to do with the latest machinations of your boss or the latest disasters feeding the news cycle. You are one with your …

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