Thursday, August 23, 2012

Preparing Your Manuscript

Here are my questions: what do you do to prepare your manuscript for your applications? Do you workshop? Exchange work with a few trusted friends? Revise quietly, alone? Pray?

What do you consider ethical, or unethical, when it comes to getting help? There has been a lot of debate over the last few years about fee-based services and freelance editors (and, full disclosure, I am a freelance editor). Where do you stand on the issue? Have you used such services? Would you consider it? Why, or why not?

22 comments:

Amy said...

I took my writing to a writing workshop and then used that feedback in my revisions. I had one trusted friend read through those for grammar, etc. Ultimately, I got into all the schools I applied to and am starting this fall! I feel that was the most ethical way to do it. I think writing then revising on your own in a vacuum will lead to oversights and minor mistakes that could make a big impression on those reading your applications. I'm not sure I'm against paying someone to review it if there's no better option, but it wouldn't have been my first choice either.

NiniJD said...

I meet with a group of others applying to MFA programs (and who I workshopped with in undergrad) once a week and that is extremely helpful. I also have a few other friends who read work for me. This helped both in deciding which pieces I want to use for my sample and also making those pieces the best they can be. I also have my professors from undergrad who are reading work for me and assisting me with both my writing sample and personal statement, which is especially nice as 2 of those professors are now faculty at MFA programs, and know what such programs are looking for. I think any help you can find you should use. I know I could never trust myself enough and pieces would certainly be lacking if not for the insight of others.

JDEvans said...

I heavily workshopped my sample in numerous classes(3). I then sent it to be read with some other things to have ordered best to worst to ten friends and my references.
My issue is one of novel excerpts: what elements are needed in the excerpt which are easier to show in short fiction? Obviously the arc of the story can be seen unlike the novel (which has the large arc but numerous smaller ones built into scenes between summary). But what is most important? Do I share the beginning and end of the novel to show the large arc (at least pieces of it) or a chapter? Scene?
Help.

Victoria Elliott said...

I'm coming rather late to this - I'm from the UK and have only just discovered the whole MFA application process. I'm working on my sample right now, because I don't think I have anything in the bag that's good enough right off. I'm planning to get a few creative writing friends to make comments.

JDEvans - I'd say you want a coherent section of the novel, ie one chunk. Some schools suggest you include a synopsis if you're submitting a novel extract, so maybe you could use that to show the story arc?

Pablo Bravo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pablo Bravo said...

I'm incredibly overwhelmed by not knowing whether to apply to a low residency vs full residency MFA and to whether studying abroad or in the US is the best fit for me, not to mention which programs of any of the above are good for me. Given that I, as a writer, have just started my career in a serious way (have written for myself all my life), I want to find the best way to catapult/shortcut my professional writing career. Any comments on this issue? Many thanks. Pablo (pabloabravo@gmail.com).

Melissa Matthewson said...

I have a writing group I am sharing my work with though I was looking into hiring a mentor through Creative Nonfiction magazine. I decided against that, but noticed a new online course offered by 24 PearlStreet that will help you hone your MFA manuscript. I'm seriously considering doing that. I'm curious why using an editor would be considered unethical? It is an interesting question. It hadn't even crossed my mind.

Kyle said...

I cheated and only sent stories that had sold, so I could trust that they were at least acceptable in quality.

But I can tell you one thing, published or not, that every applicant should make sure to do when preparing writing samples: Take the bright, orange paper out of the printer and put back the plain, white paper *before* printing 100-odd pages of samples for various programs...

(The worst part was standing there with the printouts in my hands seriously debating if I could send them in that way or if I really had to re-print.)

Shadow Moon Wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shadow Moon Wolf said...

I hope it's alright that I reply to this despite still working towards my BA. I do hope to one day pursue a MFA in creative writing, however. I would be open to any and all kinds of help. Workshops are always incredibly helpful. I personally wouldn't mind going to a freelance editor if I could afford one.

B. Peterson said...

I hope it's alright that I reply to this despite still working towards my BA. I do hope to one day pursue a MFA in creative writing, however. I would be open to any and all kinds of help. Workshops are always incredibly helpful. I personally wouldn't mind going to a freelance editor if I could afford one.

Claudia Dell said...

it is really amazing i want you to share more knowledge with us.i want you to write on Essay Editing Service and share it with us to increase our limited knowledge thanks

lane cabillar said...

i strongly recommend to go to a writing workshop...it can really help..
the feedback, the challenges, the whole experience itself will be your tool to make revisions and changes to your writings.
so go for it...
how to write a book

lane cabillar said...

i strongly recommend to go to a writing workshop...it can really help..
the feedback, the challenges, the whole experience itself will be your tool to make revisions and changes to your writings.
so go for it...
how to write a book

peter anderson said...

Thank you so much for writing a lot of this good information! I am looking forward to reading more.
Dissertation Editing Services

Tutorsindia said...

Really nice tips that you have posted..But i agree with you one point that we gotta be very careful while sharing our manuscript..

best dissertation writing

alex zandar said...

That's wonderful stuff you've written up here. Been searching for it all around. Great blog
web design service

saeed ahmed thanvi said...

Its Awkward to Say some one you are doing Lol.... Every thing you want in Lol and Troll, Now you Get all in one Network, LolsGag, Lol Pictures, Lol Videos, Lol Peoples, Funny Peoples, Troll Images, Awkwards Text, Funny Comics, Jokes, Funny Jokes, Funny Facts, Humour, Funny Planet, troll pictures, funny pictures, Facebook pictures, facebook funny pictures, facebook lol pictures, Funny videos and Much More only Laughing out of Laughing
lolsgag.com

Mary said...

As Les Brown have said, it is better to be ready for an opportunities and not have one than not being prepared, we really have to make sure that we are on top of things before diving into actual writing.

Jose and Mary Goldwin

Roland rice said...

This is like my third time coming by your site. Regularly I do not make comments on, but I have to mention that this article really pushed me to do so. Really awesome article!
web design service

Fiverr Work said...

Likes tremendously enhance the status of one's webpage and utilizing the good amount count; several people will probably be interested in your account. The firms that provide these skilled expert services, buy likes on instagram will provide you with non-automated or robotic likes and provide you with real Instagram likes. The great thing regarding this would be the fact that these are definitely instantly shipped on the account so that you do not have to go to that noticeably. And if you are a small business business, mounting your Instagram likes are going to be handy.

muhammad nurul qolbi said...

It was nice to land on this website post and to see such superb stuff. Your website is choked with authentic and highly-researched knowledge that's price reading. I’ll sure enough advocate your website to my fellows! Desain Ruang Tamu Kecil Minimalis | Gambar Design Kamar Mandi Kecil | Contoh Desain Dapur Modern 2015 | Gambar Desain Kamar Mandi Mungil Minimalis |