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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Imagining History, or Creating True Scenes You’ve Never Seen

No matter what type of creative writing you pursue--fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry--a compelling scene can deepen the reader's immersion in your words. In two weeks I'll be giving a lecture at my final Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing residency titled Imagining History: Creating True Scenes You've Never Seen. I've provided a teaser of …

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A Two-Year MFA in Writing Reading List in One Post

"So I would imagine you have to do a lot of reading in an MFA program," I am sometimes asked. The answer is yes, and appropriately so: some believe the best way to learn to write is to read a lot, and to read critically. So what have I been reading the last two years …

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A Model for Feedback on Your Creative Work

"Writing is a solitary pursuit," said award-winning author Robin Hemley, explaining why he has "no patience" for belonging to a writer's group. You might argue that Robin has reached a level in his career where he doesn't need feedback from other writers. He is an accomplished writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. He directs the …

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