MFA in Creative Writing - Hollis Seamon
I believe that the fiction writing classroom should, first, create a community of close, committed, and always-curious readers - readers whose eyes are trained to appreciate and analyze the work of professional and apprentice writers. Fiction, at all levels, should be mined and sifted for the secrets of its craft. Writers should read for the pleasure of learning the how and why of fiction, asking, "How did this author do that? How did s/he make me care about this character? Why does this ending make me weep and that ending just make me glad the story's over?"
As a fiction writing teacher, whether in a workshop setting or when mentoring individual writers, I try, always, to read student work carefully and creatively, seeking to imagine the truly wonderful story that the writer is striving toward and thinking of ways to inch the real work in the direction of the ideal work. I believe that through critiquing one another's work with rigor, good humor, intelligence, and generosity, all writers grow. I believe that as each story improves, inch by inch, writers improve by miles.
I encourage student writers to stretch their skills. I insist that every story by every writer provides opportunities for learning key elements of fiction technique and craft, that writers learn as much - or more - from our (many) flawed stories as from our (rare) perfectly crafted stories. I hope to work with students who are passionate about the art and craft of fiction writing and who honor their apprenticeship years as a time to experiment, explore and expand their literary knowledge and their writing skills.