Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Insecure Writers Gather Here

Well hello there! Long time no post, eh? Yeah, well...

Today is the Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting. We meet the first Wednesday of every month, hosted by our fearless leader Alex Cavanaugh. Check out all the post HERE!

I'll just go ahead and spell it out: I'm feeling VERY insecure in the writing department. I am eight months away from FINALLY graduating college. The next step is graduate school. Last week, I read something that shook those plans just a wee bit. It appears that genre fiction is highly frowned upon in graduate school. I emailed my professor. She confirmed this. I emailed the director of the MFA program at one of the schools I'm interested in: another confirmation.

I write genre fiction.
I have always written genre fiction.
What do I do?

I see two options:
1) I decide that an MFA isn't for me, that my life long dream of becoming a college professor is out of reach, and I should just concentrate on writing and tutoring.
2) I can suck it up, hone my craft, work my butt off to create character driven fiction (which, by the way, can have genre just has to be character driven and not plot or magic driven which -according to the powers that be- most sci-fi/fantasy is driven by magic, technology or plot), get through this goal and go on to teach what I love: the art of creating story.

Insecure? You betcha.
Literary fiction? It has a wee bit of a reputation of being a bit...snobbish.
Can a young adult, dark fantasy/middle grade ghost story writing gal from the Deep South actually write something that a panel of academics find acceptable enough to get me that much closer to my goal?

There's only one way to find out.

I think I'll go with option 2.


  1. Yes...option 2! I always try to remember not to listen to people or the norm. It is hard and scary but we have to listen to our hearts. Take the leap and risk. You can do it! :-)

  2. You can do it! Just think how much you'll grow as a writer.

  3. go for it...not a huge fan of the academic types personally that tell people they can or can not write but....go for it...smiles.

  4. There's no reason genre fiction can't have all the elements usually associated with literary fiction. In fact, having to hit those elements might well be a good thing, so long as you remember that you're just jumping through a particular set of hoops.

  5. Yes, option two. You can make it work. Just because fantasy/sci-fi tends to be plot driven doesn't mean it can't be character driven.

    Congratulations on being 8 months away from graduation!

  6. I hope you keep going with genre fiction, Jen! And congrats on being so close to graduating college!

  7. Yes! Be Bold and Fabulous and get that degree! Don't let the snobbishness rub off, and just hone your craft! You can do it! Hugs!!!

  8. Congratulations on being so close! I'd agree that option 2 is best--keep persevering! :)

  9. Yes, Option 2 has my vote. Who knew that writing was so complicated! =)

  10. Yes go for it! And remember we are all rooting for you! :)

  11. I'm in much the same situation. I always thought I would get my MFA as well, but now I think it's pretty useless. Good luck with the writing - and try not to worry about those academics and what they deem "acceptable". They used to say Frankenstein didn't count, but hey...

  12. You gotta be true to yourself. Go with your gut. ;)

    IWSG #179 (At least until Alex culls the list again. :P)

  13. Have you ever read Margaret Atwood? A perfect example of a literary writer who writes sci-fi/dystopian/historial/contemporary. She is one of my favourite writers, not at all snobbish and her writing is very accessible. It might give you a better idea that actually you totally belong on that course!

  14. I get the feeling that you have the gumption and drive necessary to get exactly what you want. There's always a way, and you'll find it, even if it requires paying the dues. Good luck :)

  15. Dad's 84, works full time as a consulting civil engineer, he likes to say that life is too long not to love what you do. Follow your heart.


Well, hello! I'm so glad you made it. Come inside and sit by the hearth. I'll take your coat and hat. The kettle is singing and there's cake and candles and good conversation. Settle in and make yourself at home. Don't mind the wolfhounds; they're friendly if you give them a bit of lemon curd.