A great question from Neurotic in New York...
First of all, thank you for running this blog and publishing your MFA guidebook. Both have been a lifesaver in the process of running up to my applications. Now actual application is upon me, and while I scramble to write a cohesive statement of purpose, I have a kind of basic question. The length limits vary from program to program.
UC Irvine maximum page count is 40, whereas UMass - Amherst is 20. Iowa's limit is 100 pages!
My question is, do I break the "send the same work everywhere" rule and send an extra 8-page story to Irvine that I wouldn't be able to fit into my UMass application? Since UMass only takes 20 pages, I can't possibly send them the 17-page story I'm planning on opening my portfolio with and another story. Do I pick something completely
different? Do I just send them one story? Does it matter? Any advice will be infinitely helpful.
Neurotic, this is Man-Facting to the Max: If I'm on a committee, I'd want to see two stories no matter what. One to see that you can catch lightning in a bottle, and another to see that you make a habit of it.
I'd send the 17 pager to UMass along with a shorter story (10-12pgs) that you think is also good. As for Iowa, I'd send at least fifty pages, and then whatever you think, up to the 100, that you think is of quality work. Rock on.