All posts tagged: Seton Hill University

Long Distance Writing Workshops

Seton Hill University’s MFA program is low-residency. For most of the year, my work-shopping occurs via email with my critique partners and my mentor. There are pro’s and cons to this method. In this post, I’ll review both: The Pro’s of Long Distance Work-shopping More time to critique. During in-person workshops, the critiques are given verbally, on-the-spot. Writing a critique beforehand gives me time to think about giving a thorough, constructive edit. Ability to give a manuscript different layers of edits. As a low residency grad student with a busy life, I can chunk down my critiques and address a manuscript at the macro- and micro- level. Did I mention time? The reason I chose a low-residency program was because of the time it would give me. I am not saddled with attending classes. As a mother, this means I don’t have to arrange for and pay for childcare in order to attend school. (Yeah, that’s not directly related to critiquing, but it matters to me.) The Cons of Long Distance Work-shopping Inability to read first reactions to …

Preslaysa Williams Introduction (Seton Hill University)

Image: www.unsplash.com  I applied to a MFA program in Fiction to salvage a long-lost dream and save my creative life. Close to twenty years ago when I was an undergraduate, I had set a goal to earn my MFA. I’d planned to earn an MFA right after college. After getting my MFA, I’d planned to embark on my life as an artist. But life doesn’t always work according to plan. After earning my undergraduate degree, I earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I later secured a job in government. I had figured I’d put my cute little creative itch on the back burner and focus on my “real” career. A few years into working a nine-to-five, I was soul-restless and unhappy. I needed to pursue art and so I took up writing nine years ago. I’ve been pursuing a writing career ever since. So why pursue a MFA with years of writing experience under my belt? I wanted to keep the promise I’d made to myself all those years ago. Also, I’ve been on the …

An Inside Look With Kenny Stoneman, Kingston University ’15

Image: Barnyz A note from Kenny: There didn’t seem to be a natural place to mention it, but I attended the MFA program at Kingston University – London from September 2014 – September 2015.  Because I only finished the first year, I received an MA, rather than the full MFA.  Most schools in the UK work that way – the MA is the first year, while the MFA is the second. What was it like living in London? How did you navigate the cost of living there? Lesson #1 about living in London: it’s expensive. There is absolutely no way around that fact, although I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to very many people. Be prepared to budget, and also be ready for exorbitant prices on just about everything. But there are a few things most Americans won’t realize about London until they get there. For thing, if you’re on a student visa, you are legally not allowed to work more than 20 hrs/wk, so unless you’re independently wealthy, you will need student loans to support yourself. I …

An Inside Look With Heather Houston, Seton Hill University ’16

Note: Thank you to first year contributor J.R. Dawson for providing me with these questions! How does your residency work and how it is paced? Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program (#SHUWPF) operates with two residencies a year – January and June. Our program is 2.5 years long. Six residencies and five ‘college terms’. Students start with a residency (where they are labeled as ONEs) and they end with a residency (where they are labeled SIXs). Winter Residency starts on a Friday night at 7pm with orientation. Summer residency starts on a Tuesday at the same time. One of the directors opens the program and we are told about the theme of the week. The theme for this January 2015 was “Why do you write?” Our residencies are broken up into three-hour blocks in the morning and the afternoon. The first morning the three-hour block is broken in half. The first 1.5 hours is a mixed class (meaning anyone from any class in the program) where we talk about the Common Reading for the residency. This …

“Otherness” in MFA programs

Much has been made of the lack of people of color (POC) enrolled in master of fine arts programs. Last year, best-selling writer of color, Junot Diaz, made the rounds on a variety of news outlets to discuss the lack of diversity in many MFA programs. Diaz was expressing a real concern and frustration for the lack of diversity in both the student body and the faculty at many of the MFA programs around the country. As his message got louder and spread across the media last summer, other writers echoed his sentiments and shared their stories about workshop experiences (NPR  dubbed the experience “writing while other”). For many writers who identify themselves as “other,” they see this problem as an extension of the publishing world as well, where agents and publishers are not interested in fiction projects that are written by or feature people of color. The excuse is often given that no one buys those books. The standard reply from a person of color, “How would you know? Have you tried?” Obviously, books exists …