Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mailbag for Monday, September 3

Questions and topic ideas for the week of September 3 can be posted here.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who contributed to last week's discussions on the personal essay and writing sample. Hard topics, since there is no perfect set of rules when it comes to assembling either, but they're always interesting to talk about!


Raina said...

Question on Assembling Writing Sample:

-How would you go about sending a writing sample? Just a simple printout or would you add a table of contents? Send it in a binder? Report cover?

Any help would be appreciated.


Luke said...


Staple or paper clip?

Mike Valente said...

simple printout or would you add a table of contents? -- simple printout, maybe if you have multiple stories and/or poems, then a one-page title page with your name and a listing of the contents. nothing more.

Send it in a binder? Report cover? -- No binders, No covers.

Staple or paper clip? -- if the school specifies, then do that. If not, then staple. I'd recommend putting your name on every page, like in a corner as a header (with page number).

Unknown said...

There's no need to staple or clip if you put your name on every page and number each of these. I'd only staple or clip if the program specifically asked for that.

Meredith Ramirez said...

paper or binder clip... staples make it harder for readers to look through the manuscript quickly.

Vince EstrogenSociety said...

I'm interested in a teaching assistantship, but I don't really have any formal teaching experience to speak of. Any tips on how to sell myself as potential T.A. in my personal statement?


mshea said...

I never formed any strong relationships with undergraduate profs. Now I’m 5 years out of school. Who should I ask for letters of recommendations? I’m a reporter and have several editors that know my writing well and a friend (Ph.D FSU, published poet) who teaches creative writing and has informally looked at my stuff. In Tom's books, though, I think he advises against using editors and friends.

mshea said...

The idea of writing a critical essay on something in my desired field (creative non-fiction) is killing me. I don’t have any old college papers that qualify. Any pointers?

shivaloka said...

I'm a writer based in New York who hopes to establish a career in Speculative Fiiction (magical realism, science fiction, horror, fantasy). At thirty three years of age, I've decided to apply for an MFA; I was an English major at Fordham Univerisity. How serious do the writing commitees at universities respond to this particular genere? What MFA programs would help a writer achieve their goals in this area? I plan on applying to three schools, one being Coumbia Unversity. it is hard to follow professors and see which ones are teaching at any given semesters, because they often go away on sabbaticals or other business related to their to writing. I know well how competetive these programs are and I feel I'm prepared to attend one. However, if schools are interested in only focusing on students who want to write "tradtionl literture", than were should the post-modernist go?

Sean (NY Writer)

Jen said...

Chatham: the MFA program:
What has been heard/found out about this program? When I look at it, it sounds really good. But, I haven't seen anything about it anywhere.
Does anyone have an opinion? know someone that has studied there?