Thursday, November 02, 2006

Quality vs. Quantity


Literally just finished your article in the Nov/Dec Poets&Writers (really helped with the MFA application anxiety, btw) and I ended up going to their site to read additional MFA “stuff.” I found another article there by Steve Almond in the “MFA Toolkit” called “Confessions of an MFA Application Reader.” In it, Almond suggests that if your portfolio consists of 30 pages made up of one strong story and one weak story, you should submit less than 30 pages even though that is what the application calls for because “quality trumps quantity, every time.” I’m curious about your thoughts on this as well as other comments.

Wanna-be Novelist in North Carolina

It’s all relative. If your one great story is eight pages, then no way. If it’s twenty-two pages, then that advice makes sense. That’s a great article by Steve Almond, by the way. Other readers should check it out.

Back to the question, if a writer truly feels like he/she has only one good story, then either 1. Get writing on a new one, or editing an old one, or 2. It might be wise to wait a year before applying. Of course, I’d nudge people towards #1. Rock on.


chris said...

I agree with both Tom and Steve, quality vs. quantity. However, in interviews in Identity Theory and 3 A.M. Mr Almond admits to having a short attention span. I thought he also mentioned that books shouldn't be over 500 pages and that Augie March was too long at certain parts. So maybe these are just his personal preferences ... but what's it matter? Send your best stuff.

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