MFA in Writing for Children or Teenagers

I received a note yesterday, letting me know about another low-residency master’s program, this one in “Writing Popular Fiction” (including “children’s fiction”) at Seton Hill University. The director is Dr. Lee Tobin McClain. Those master’s programs I was already familiar with include the ones at Vermont College, where I’ll be guest teaching this summer, and Spaulding University.

I’ve had people ask me whether I thought getting an MFA was either necessary or deadly to one’s publishing career. I don’t have one (my degrees are a BS in journalism from the White School at the University of Kansas and a JD fromThe University of Michigan Law School), but, as I mentioned, I will be affiliated with Vermont College this summer.

First, I don’t think everyone gets a master’s to “learn to write” per se, but rather to have a taskmaster or perhaps get a necessary credential for a teaching day job.

Beyond that, I would guess that such programs could lend themselves to helpful connections (though there are less time-consuming and expensive ways to obtain those).

But at the base line, I guess it’s sort of like an incredibly well organized critique/conference experience. If it’s good, it’s incredible and can help take you to a whole new level. If it’s lousy, you could leave disenchanted and with far lighter pockets.

What I would suggest to anyone considering such a program is to really do your homework–not just researching the program and faculty but also having some heart to hearts with a wide variety of graduates and students–and to be honest about your own expectations in evaluating a possible fit.

That said, I love school. I’d probably get an MFA if I weren’t still paying off law school.

Nifty Link

If I could afford it, I’d love to have the Dr. Seuss Cat-In-The-Hat illustration currently for sale at $7,500 from Every Picture Tells A Story.