Thursday, August 31, 2006


Hi Tom,
A shout out from Cleveland, Ohio. I have a few questions. I was wondering about the formatting of stories. If I am sending multiple stories, should I include a table of contents? Do we always have to double space? Is 1.5 spacing acceptable? Also, how common is it that an MFA grad goes on to sell his thesis to a publishing house?

The Brooder of Buckeye

1. Always, always, always double space. Why? Because, speaking as someone who has to read manuscripts all year long: it's easier on the eyes. And always 12 point font. This is the standard, and don't deviate from either. Or you'll look amateurish.

I like saving trees too, but not for my professional correspondence. Be professional.

2. If you're sending more than three stories you might consider including a front page that lists the story names. But it's not required.

3. MFA graduates go on to publish their thesises 17.3 percent of the time.

Look: I have no idea how to answer that question. How common is it? I can tell you that it's much more common for writers to continue to work on their collections/novels after the MFA, and then place them a year or three down the road. Often, you don't know what it is that you're trying to do, until you finish the first go-around.

Also, you're doing two things when you write a first book: You're writing a book, and you're teaching yourself how to write a book. That takes time.

Maria Hummel talks about this in the MFA Handbook, and unfortunately, I don't have a copy on me right now. It's in that last chapter.

Thanks for the questions, Buckeye.

No comments: