One of the questions I often field from potential students to the MFA program at Western State Colorado University is what makes us different than other programs. That would be a very long post indeed, and I may write about it someday, but here's a (very) short answer: we're a curriculum-based genre fiction program. Put simply, our students don't just workshop pieces back and forth with a single instructor or a peer group. Instead, we have a curriculum plan that has actual classes where students both write/workshop and study the various genres of fiction. There are also required courses in pedagogy, the business of being a writer and the publishing industry, and so on. It's an intense program.
So, since there's clearly an issue out there in the world with the idea that one type of fiction is more worthy than another (utter bullshit, of course), I thought people might find it amusing to take a look at the required reading (and watching) materials for my genre studies course this semester:
Hondo by Louis L'Amour
True Grit by Charles Portis
Unforgiven (1992) - Directed by Clint Eastwood
Firefly, Season 1, Episode 1 or 2 (depending on source): The Train Job (2002) - Directed by Joss Whedon
Dune by Frank Herbert
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Dragonbreath #1 by Ursula Vernon
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Now, I didn't post this to engage in a long discussion with anyone about what I *should* have chosen, or how I could've chosen differently. I only post it to share with anyone who cares one simple idea: if you want to be a successful writer, you need to study successful writers. You need to read (or watch) a lot of different things and figure out how they succeed and how they fail. How you respond to them as a writer, so you know how to respond to your own ideas on the page.
If you're considering an MFA program, ask to see the reading list. If you've never heard of anyone on it, you might think about the kind of writer you really want to be.
Novel Completion Queries, Day Thirteen
10 hours ago