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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why Writers Need Community

OK, enough about goal-setting.  We'll probably come back to concrete goals and holy grails now and again, but today there's something else I want to talk about: community.

There's something about writers that makes them flock together.  This isn't just a new phenomenon either.  Think of the Abbey Theater in Dublin or the Algonquin Round Table in New York.  Writers just seem to find each other, as if through instinct.  And yet, unlike many other arts, writing in itself is a very solitary activity; after all, no amount of community will sit down and write that novel for you.  Why then, if the bulk of the work must be done on one's own, is community such an important part of a writer's life?
  1. It will keep you sane.  Belonging to a group of like-minded writers will help keep you centered during those moments of solitary madness (and we all have those from time to time).  Whether this community is a critique group or an online network, having other writers around will keep the lonelies from creeping up.
  2. It will keep you accountable.  Writers know when other writers are working and when they're just blowing steam.  If you have writer friends who ask you about your work, it will help keep you honest.  After all, there's only so many times you can say to another writer "well, uh, I'm still stuck on chapter 3…" before you start losing your street cred and start looking like an @$$.
  3. It will give you perspective.  Sometimes it feels like everyone else in the world is getting published except for you and that's because the whole publishing universe is out to get you and make you feel worse than pond scum.  Um… not.  Seeing other writers try and fail will help remind you of reality: writing is hard work, but worth every bit of it.
  4. You'll have someone to commiserate with you.  Let's face it, writing is tough and publishing is too.  Sometimes we all need a good sulk and having a community will mean you'll have a built-in network of people who can sympathize.  These are people who won't give you weird looks when you tell them that you hear your characters' voices in your head or that a minor character just hijacked your entire plot.  These are the people who will pat you on the back before they give you that loving shove back to the computer.
  5. Finally, it means you'll have someone to celebrate with you.  And these are people who will understand that finishing a short story is just as much reason for celebration as getting a publishing contract, that it's just as important to celebrate the small successes as the big ones.  They know because they've been there too.
Over the next few weeks Tuesdays will be our day for focusing on building a writer's community.  Not every type of community works for every writer.  Some of us prefer live, face-to-face meetings with a critique group.  For others of us, conferences, writing organizations or classes might be great places to connect with fellow writers.  And let's not forget the wonders of the internet.  These days you can do almost anything online that you could do live: exchange critique, take classes, even have face-to-face conferences via webcam.

In Creative Community we'll be looking at a few of these options--their pros and cons--and how to make the most of these various communities.  By the end of it, my hope is that everyone will have the tools to find the right community for them, if they haven't already.  And if at the end of September you find that community is not for you, well then maybe you're one of those rare birds that just likes to fly solo.

And that's totally OK.

Today's Question: Do you think writers need community?  If so, what do you think is the most important thing writers can get out of connecting with other writers?

Monday, August 30, 2010

What's your Holy Grail?

As we gear up for DIY MFA, we'll be talking a lot of about goals.  Yesterday we focused on operational definitions for our goals (i.e. small concrete and measurable steps that represent the bigger, abstract goal).  Today we'll be emphasizing the flip-side of that idea, namely the Holy Grail.

What's a Holy Grail, you ask?  It's that elusive dream, that unbelievable quest that shapes all your creative goals.  Julia Cameron (of The Artist's Way) calls this her True North.  I call it my own personal Holy Grail.  It doesn't matter what words you give it, the idea is the same.

Two people might have similar goals but a very different Holy Grail.  For instance, two writers might both want to get published but to one, the Holy Grail is winning a Pulitzer while to the other the Holy Grail might be getting on the NYT Bestseller list.  Notice how both writers have parallel small goals (getting an agent, editor and having their book published) but ultimately the differences in their Holy Grails will shape how they approach these intermediary steps.  Even if they never reach that ultimate goal, the Holy Grail will influence the goals that lead up to their ultimate success.

But wait, you say.  Didn't we just spend all of yesterday figuring out small, concrete, manageable goals?  Are we supposed to give up on those all of a sudden and go after wild and crazy dreams?


Here's the secret: The Holy Grail shapes your goals, but it doesn't define them.  So go ahead, dream big.  Let your mind go through all those fanciful scenarios you would never admit to anyone.

Your task for today:  What's your Holy Grail?  Write it down and post it somewhere where you can see it every day.  Here's mine.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Measuring Success

One topic that we'll come back to many times in the DIY MFA is this idea of measuring success.  Unlike a typical MFA, where you can measure your success through grades, a diploma or post-graduation opportunities, the DIY MFA is, by definition, un-measurable since different people would consider different things to be "success."

This brings me to a concept that I first learned about in Psychology 101 in college: Operational Definition.  In psychology, you're usually dealing with outcome variables that are very abstract and difficult to measure.  Stress.  Anger.  Fear.  Part of the reason these variables are so hard to measure is because different people experience them in different ways.  It's up to the psychologist to find another variable--one that's concrete and easy to measure--to approximate the variable we really care about.

For instance, you can't ask a bunny if it's hungry because it's a bunny and it doesn't speak English.  You can, however, count how many carrots it eats in a given time period.  More carrots = more hungry.

Similarly, while you can ask human subjects if they were hungry (say on a 1-10 scale), you could run into problems.  First: what might be a 4 on the scale for one person might be a 2 on a hunger scale for someone else.  Second: people sometimes lie.  If, however, you give everyone the same "snack" during the experiment and then secretly measure how much food is left at the end, you can have a reasonable indicator of who was hungry and who was not.  When you spread that data over a large sample, you can account for individual discrepancies and your concrete measure (weight of leftover snack) actually becomes a very good indicator for your abstract variable (hunger).

OK, I didn't mean to get overly technical, but there's a reason I'm going into all this detail.  The fact is, DIY MFA success is an abstract outcome variable, making it difficult to measure.  If we set smaller, concrete goals, on the other hand, we can have a pretty good indication of whether we've succeeded or not.  As we work on putting together our DIY MFA individualized programs, remind yourself to keep your goals concrete.

Why is it so important that goals be concrete?
  1. Abstract goals are hard to measure.  Telling yourself "I'm going to become a better writer" is all well and good, but how will you know when you get there?  Instead, you could try: "I'll write and edit three stories in the next three months" or "I'll submit one story to 10 literary magazines."  Then with a simple checklist you'll know if you've succeeded or not.
  2. Vague goals are scary.  OK, maybe I'm more of a wimp than most people but nothing freaks me out more than a vague goal.  If the goal is too amorphous, it's easy to get overwhelmed, but if the goal is concrete, it automatically becomes more doable.  "Write a novel someday" sounds scary.  But "write five pages a day"?  Well, I know I can write 5 pages today and I guess I could do it tomorrow too and probably the next day... and you get the idea.
  3. Checking things off the list feels good.  If you're measuring success with small, concrete goals, it means you get to check things off the list more often than if you look at it as just one vague goal.  If you look at success as one big goal, then that's only one thing you get to check off the list but think of how many checks you'd get if you broke down that goal into small, concrete goals.
  4. Concrete goals make it easier to track your progress.  Say your goal is to write a novel, but you break it down to 5 pages per day, six days per week.  That means, in 8-10 weeks you should be pretty close to finishing the whole thing.  If you stick to your weekly goals, you should have a good measure of how close you are to finishing your progress.
During DIY MFA month, I want to accomplish the following abstract goals (broken down into concrete goals):
  • Finish my novel (8 chapters left - 2 chapters or approx. 4000 words per week words for 4 weeks)
  • Read more (one book per week for 4 weeks)
  • Submit a short story (Submit A.H. to 5 markets per week for 4 weeks, total of 20 magazines)
What abstract goals can you break down into concrete goals for DIY MFA?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

School Supplies

I love buying school supplies.  Love it.  Love everything about it, from searching bookstore after bookstore for the perfect notebook to trying out a hundred different pens (ballpoint, gel rollers, fountain pens....)

The Basics

As you prepare to put together your DIY MFA, you may want to consider treating yourself to a few simple school supplies:
  • Notebook where you can take notes and store away your ideas
  • Folder to hold your DIY MFA lists and assignments
  • Writing implement of your choice
Every writer has probably spent way too many hours at their office supply store or bookstore, ogling the pretty notebooks and dying to play with the pretty pens.  I am not advising that you spend an entire weekend hunting for school supplies, otherwise you'll have no time left for writing.  Just find a system that works for you and then stick to it.  After much trial and error, I've come up with a system of my own and now I keep some backup supplies so that I always have extras on hand.  You know, in case there's a blizzard.  Or a blackout.  Or a sudden shortage of fountain pens.

Notebook: This is where I do most of my writing when I'm away from the computer.  I'll even use it instead of the computer from time to time, just to shake things up a bit.  It's small enough to fit in my purse but big enough so I don't get hand cramps trying to write in it.  I used to be a die-hard moleskine fan, but now I've actually converted to the ecosystem variety because I find them to be more lightweight.  Also I like the pretty colors.  The medium one is the perfect size for me and, of course, I always go for the unlined styles because sometimes I like to write sideways or draw diagrams.

Folder: Conferences are a great place to get pretty folders.  I reuse my SCBWI conference folders over and over until they fall apart. Don't be afraid to get whimsical with these.  If cartoon characters or unicorns are more your style than "serious" solid-colored folders, then go for it.  Have fun.

Pen: My choice in writing implement is the only thing that's stayed pretty constant since I first started writing seriously.  Pilot Varsity fountain pens.  Dark blue.  This may seem super-finicky but there is a method to this madness, I promise you.  I need a fast pen that writes with little pressure (hence the fountain pen choice) and because I make notes in the margin of my manuscripts and I want to be able to spot my comments quickly (hence the blue rather than black ink).

Other Fun Supplies

Stickers: I'm a firm believer in stickers.  I keep a bunch of stickers on hand and give myself a gold star or a smiley after a writing job well done.  I know it sounds infantile, but it helps me keep my mood light and puts my writing in perspective.  If writing well is all about gold stars and smiley faces then it's not really a big deal.  And if it's not a big deal, then it stops being scary.

Mascot:  Every writer has a mascot, whether they're aware of it or not.  To tell the truth, I have several mascots, but in the interest of time rather than describing them, I'll just show you my two favorites.
The knitted cactus plant was something I found in a flea market when I was eleven.  I got it because it was the only kind of plant that I wouldn't be able to kill (trust me, I was terrible with plants.  Still am.) I carried the cactus with me all through middle school and high school, took it with me to all my exams, even took it to college with me.  The pink alien is more recent, designed and made by a friend back when I was in design school.  And yes, the pink alien is picking his nose with his tongue.  So gross and yet so funny!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Friday!

My goodness, is it Friday already?  Seriously, when you're doing things like clearing your desk, getting school supplies, choosing the perfect writing music and getting your life ready for back-to-school, all of a sudden it's Friday.  Where did the week go?

Not to mention that Mockingjay came out this week.  See, I thought I had this perfect plan.  I saved Catching Fire to read on the trip so it would last me to Mockingjay.  I knew if I read Catching Fire right after Hunger Games, I'd be in agony until Mockingjay came out so I thought this plan was foolproof.   Problem is, this perfect plan backfired because I got no reading done in Ireland and all of a sudden, I come back and I have two must-read books on my plate!  I'm halfway through Catching Fire (I'm a sloooooow reader...) and I'm reading Mockingjay right after so no spoilers, OK?  Seriously, or I just might die.  And then who will run iggi U?

Speaking of iggi U, can you believe that September starts next week?  Omigoodness, I can't wait.  Starting tomorrow, I'll be doing some pre-iggi U posts where we'll talk about what you need to do to get prepared--don't worry, it's not too much--and give you all a sneak peek at what's to come.

I also thought it might be fun to do a little twitter meet-n-greet for everyone who's participating in DIY MFA.  Just tweet with the #diymfa hashtag and say hi!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Ireland

One of the wonderful things about Ireland is how medieval or prehistoric monuments are just around.  For some there's little more than a small sign saying what the monument is and a fence to keep the sheep out.

The first one is Kells Priory, which I've mentioned before, but simply had to write about again because it's so striking.  This enormous medieval ruin sits at the bottom of a grassy hill and there's nobody there.  Seriously.  When we visited, it we were the only tourists there and only when we were leaving did we run into some tourists who were just arriving.

This second photo is of Jerpoint Abbey, which is also astounding and beautiful, though a little more touristy than Kells Priory--I mean, it actually has a visitor center instead of a sheep gate at the entrance.

The last photo is of one of the Ahenny High Crosses, which date back to the 8th and 9th centuries.

These pictures don't do any of these places justice, but they may give you a taste of how beautiful Ireland is.  Now I understand why faeries came from this part of the world: when you're in a place that's so mysterious and misty and green, you can't help but see sprites and pixies everywhere.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Ba-ack!

Hello all,

I'm back from Ireland and wow, does it feel weird.  I'm a little discombobulated, mostly because of jet-lag but also I'm experiencing withdrawal from my morning dose of porridge with honey cream.  Note to self: microwaveable oatmeal with honey does not equal porridge with honey cream.

The photo on the left is from the Aran Isle of Inis Mor (Inishmore) off the west coast of Ireland, and one of my new favorite places in the world.  I'll post more pictures once I've had a chance to sort through them all, but I thought I'd share this one because it's one of my favorites.

So, today I thought I'd address some more questions regarding DIY MFA.

Question: What sort of work will we need to do in September during the classes or is September the time to absorb information?  How much time should we allow each week for each class?

Answer:  I see September as being a time to absorb information and start putting together your DIY MFA plan.  After each blog post, I'll give one or two short assignments and people can either do them right away or come back to them later on as they build their DIY MFA.  For instance, when we talk about reading the literature, one assignment might be to assemble a reading list for yourself (we'll talk about what sorts of books should go into that list when we cover that topic in Love of Literature).  In Craftivity, for instance, an assignment might be to try out a technique covered that day in the post.  You get the idea.

Unlike classes in a standard MFA, those in DIY MFA are more about absorbing information and putting together a plan.  Then, when you're ready, you put the plan into action.  As I've mentioned before, the real work in DIY MFA happens after September.  iggi-U is just the preparation, after that, it's all up to you.

Question: Is there going to be a space for iggi-U grads to share their DIY MFAs as we put them together are then work through them?

Answer:  Funny you should ask.  I've been using the hashtag #diymfa on twitter when I post updates about iggi U, figuring it would make it easier for iggi U tweeps to find the info.  That could certainly be a space where people can share their DIY MFA experiences and get in touch with each other.  I was also thinking we could use #diymfa after September to do twitter chats and such so people can give updates on how they're doing, etc.  Sound good?

Thanks to Kerryn Angell for these great questions!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Talk to iggi

'Tis the season when kiddies start packing up their lunchboxes and rolling their wheelie-dealie book bags to the school bus.  'Tis also almost the season when iggi U will open its doors and kick off the DIY MFA extrabloganza.

A few days ago, I got an interesting question about DIY MFA and I thought I would share my answer in a post.

Question:  How long do classes go... is it just for month of September, or longer?

Answer:  Yes, "classes" will go only through September.  OK, if we don't cover everything in September it might lop over into October for a day or two but really, the plan is to cram everything into one month.  Why hurry, you might ask?  Why not relax, take our time and do the whole iggi-U thing over a semester or a year?  I'll tell you.

Really, iggi-U is only the first step.  During September we'll be working on ways to set up your DIY MFA plan and get you started.  But when iggi-U is over, that's when the fun begins.  See, the whole idea of DIY MFA is to help people set up a plan and then put it into action.  Unlike a school-based MFA that lasts a set amount of time, DIY MFA is all about implementing your writing plan for the long term.

The other thing is that one of the core principles of DIY MFA is that different writers have different needs and will work at a different pace.  If we made DIY MFA over a set time period, that pace might be too slow for some and too fast for others.  The whole idea of DIY MFA is that it's about writers putting together a plan that works for them.

It all comes down to this: in September, we'll give you the tools to put together your writing plan.  After that, it's up to you.  See, that's the whole point of the DIY part.  Since you're doing it yourself, you'll have the freedom to set your own goals and work at a pace that's right for you.

Thank you to @kathanink for a great question!

This post got me thinking that one thing I really want is to hear from all of you and find out what questions you may have about this DIY MFA project.

So go ahead and tell iggi what's on your mind.  Do you have a topic you're dying to see covered at iggi U?  Do you have any burning questions about DIY MFA? Do you want to know what iggi's favorite food is?  Ask away!

You can post questions in the comments section or, if you prefer, email iggi and me at:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

iggi's travels

Hello friends,

Didja miss me?  'Cause iggi and I missed you!

No, I'm not back from Ireland just yet but I am finally in a hotel that has reliable internet so I'll be able to check in at least somewhat regularly.  Don't worry, I'll post pictures and share more stories soon enough (forgot the camera adapter at home so we'll have to wait a few more days for photos).

Today iggi and I had a fascinating experience.  We went to a graveyard where some ancestors of my super-duper hubby were buried.  We found two gravestones dating back to the 1800s.  Then we went and found the house where some ancestors had lived way back in the day.  They don't live there anymore, but there is a farmer who lives there and he remembered them and even tried to get us in touch with the remaining distant relative that still lived in that town (it didn't work out because when the farmer phoned her, she wasn't home).

iggi has also gotten into the Irish mood.  He's made some friends, like his long-lost relative pictured below.  (You can see the family resemblance, I'm sure).

Later on in the trip, iggi met a sheep named Seamus and decided to bring him home with us.  I'm not sure where I'm going to put a sheep in our apartment, much less how we'll get him into our building.  (I have a feeling that bringing barnyard animals home would make me persona non grata with the condo board.)  But iggi has just informed me that Seamus is imaginary and shouldn't take up any space at all.  Apparently Seamus is also housebroken.

Speaking of sheep, I have not been able to hug a sheep yet and seeing as now we'll be in Dublin the rest of our trip, I think the odds are pretty well stacked against me.  I did, however, manage to get reasonably close to a sheep and take a photo.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hidden Stories

Some places you visit and and a story leaps to mind right away.  Other places, you think maybe there's a story lurking in there somewhere, but you're not sure what it is yet.  This is one of the latter places.
Kells Priory
These ruins of a medieval priory lie just south of Kilkenny in Ireland.  The site looks more like a fortress than an abbey and there's something about the grey stone against the surrounding green that lends it an air of melancholy.  The thing that struck me most when we visited these ruins this morning was the solitude.  There was no one there at the Priory except for us and a bunch of sheep.  And yet I could see glimpses of characters flitting through the shadows of the stone structure.

I wondered why this priory was built to look more like a castle than religious site.  The stone walls had slits for archers and the whole area is enclosed by walls with towers.  Who were these monks trying to keep out?  Weren't they supposed to be all catholic and welcoming and whatnot?

In my imagination, this wasn't a priory for real monks but actually a training ground for a brotherhood of warriors posing as monks.  *dun dun duuuuun*  There's this young wannabe monk-warrior called Aeryck who has joined the priory because his beloved is betrothed to another and he has vowed to take a life of solitary contemplation.  When he arrives at the priory, he discovers the truth about the warrior clan and even worse: the clan is loyal to a ruthless knight who happens to be the man marrying Aeryck's beloved.  So now he's torn.  Loyalty to his brothers, which means being under the thumb of Sir knight or loyalty to his own heart?  *cue romantic music*  He chooses neither.  Instead, he runs off to join a band of pirates.  *arrrrrr matey!*

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Short One

Hi everyone!  Today's post will have to be short because I'm packing for Ireland.  We leave tomorrow but I promise I'll do my best to post while I'm away and if I can, I'll put up pics of some of the places I visit.

Today I wanted to direct your attention to the VP blog.  I did a post there earlier this week about how the MFA brought us editors together.  Since iggi and I are getting ready for our DIY MFA extrabloganza, I thought the VP post would be relevant.

Also, VP is still taking submissions so if you have any short stories or essays or poetry that you think would be interesting to a teen audience, check out the VP submissions and send it along!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Hello friends.  Today I have to write a not-so-fun post, so let's see how fun I can make it, shall we?

You see, lawyer-hubby has been looking over my shoulder and insists that I include a disclaimer to this whole DIY MFA thing.  Here it is.  You ready?
  1. iggi U is a fictitious university and is not accredited by any official powers-that-be.
  2. Neither iggi nor gabi may be held responsible for any learning (or lack thereof) that occurs during a DIY MFA.
  3. Participants in the DIY MFA should not expect any financial reward or compensation as a result of completing the DIY MFA.
  4. Any person who includes iggi U or DIY MFA on their resume with the expectation that it will be considered a serious institution, is seriously mistaken.
  5. No animals or iggis were harmed in the making of this DIY MFA.
The thing is DIY MFA is not about getting a degree or a shiny piece of paper.  DIY MFA is not about going to school and having the skies part on graduation day and a beam of light anoint you with learning and knowledge.  DIY MFA is not about credentials or school because DIY MFA is the anti-credential and the anti-school.

The whole point is that it's subversive and goes against the institutional view of higher learning.  The whole point is that learning can't be condensed into a finite number of years in a geographic location, but must be carried on through life, despite what curves life throws us.  The whole point is that DIY MFA is bigger than any school or classroom.  It's about building a fulfilling writing life, setting up a plan and sticking to it, through this roller-coaster ride we call life.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Earlier this week, Elana Johnson wrote a post asking for input on outlining and in response to it, I thought I would share with you all my own outlining style.

Warning:  the following post gives a detailed look at the workings of the gabi brain and these methods may not be suitable for all writers.

The truth is, I'm a visual thinker not a verbal one, which is probably a bit strange for a writer.  In a former life, I was a product designer and a lot of my design training tends to inform my approach to writing.

I'm also a native New Yorker, born and raised and still living in the city.  My love for this city also informs my writing, despite the fact that I have yet to write anything that's actually set in NYC.

My visual approach to writing has merged with my New York mindset and lately, I have found myself outlining in the form of subway maps.  The basic idea is that subway lines represent story threads and the "stops" on the subway line represent individual scenes.  In some outlines, I have several threads that intersect and come full circle (like the BAX outline above).  In other situations, I might have two separate lines that run parallel but come together in some key points (like my very early outline of my WIP).

In addition, I also make charts to go with my subway outlines, in which I detail what happens at each of the "stops."  In particular, these charts include the following information about each scene:
  • Characters
  • Important Events
  • Setting
  • Purpose (or "Why am I writing this scene anyway?")
I realize that the subway lines might make sense to me, but to other readers (like my critique group or a workshop) they just look like lines and dots.  This is why I make the charts, to help translate the insanity that is my outline method.  This method might not work for all people, but for me, it helps to think of writing a piece as being sort of like a journey.  It also helps me to think of each scene as one dot in a long list of dots, because writing a dot is easy.  Whenever I start to feel doubts, I try to remind myself that it's just a stupid dot and I can write one dot.  That way, dot by dot and scene by scene, I get myself to write the book.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Argyle weaves several elements together to make a thoroughly engaging story.  I was taken in by the depth of emotion and dark turns in the plot, and I found it difficult to put this book down.

The language is lyrical and beautiful, but not overly fluffy as to distract from the story.  While the story is set in a medieval, magical kingdom filled with knights and peasants, Argyle doesn't get bogged down with trying to make the characters sound "of the period."  Instead, the dialogue flows effortlessly and the prose practically disappears in front of the reader's eyes, leaving us engrossed in the characters and the story.

I enjoyed the dark twists to the fairytale as well.  Argyle doesn't hold back, but lets the reader see the full extent of darkness and evil in her characters.  In fact, even our beloved protagonist, Cinderella, is not immune from the darkness as we discover throughout the story.  It was this darkness that drew me into the story and made it ring true in a way that fairy tales often do not.

Perhaps the most deftly developed aspect of the story is the relationship between Cinderella and her prince, Rowland.  While Cinderella is convinced that their relationship is based purely on magic, we see a depth of love develop between the couple that makes this marriage very real.  Unlike the "happily ever after" vision of a perfect Prince Charming, Rowland has his flaws, the biggest of which is that he is not the handsome stranger who haunts Cinderella's dreams.  As she discovers, however, the gentle, steady love that forms her marriage is far more precious than the passion she thought she wanted.

The one aspect of the story that did not ring quite as true to me was the stranger in Cinderella's dreams.  When he turns out to be a magical being, it becomes hard for the reader to hope that Cinderella to choose him over Rowland, though I imagine this may have been the author's design.  Yet, in a world where all the other beings have some sort of darkness in them, I wanted to see darkness in this stranger as well, some glint of evil that would push the story that one last step.

I found this to be a deeply engaging book, one which I read in practically one sitting.  The bittersweet ending left me nothing short of breathless.  My response: "Yes! *sigh* More?"  And that's precisely what a reader's response to any ending should be.

For more information about Cinders, visit Michelle Davidson Argyle's website.

Monday, August 2, 2010

iggi U Registration Fun!

iggi U registration is officially open, and iggi and I can't wait to share all the exciting surprises we have in store.

First, the classes.  As I mentioned on Friday, there will be five classes offered at iggi U this fall and they are scheduled for the following days:

Mondays = Love of Literature
Tuesdays = Creative Community
Wednesdays = Craft-ivity
Thursdays = Working the Workshop
Saturdays & Sundays = Brain Bootcamp

You can take as many or as few of the classes as you like.  Each course will include weekly posts and assignments to help you put together your personalized writing plan.

Next, the badges.  That's right, if you sign-up for iggi U, you can put your very own DIY MFA badge on your blog to show the world that you're part of the awesomeness.  I made one badge in each of our school colors so you can choose the color that suits you best!  (And yes, at iggi U we have not two, but four, school colors.  Because we're specialer like that.)

Last, but not least, the contest!  Here's the deal.  Just register for iggi U using the form below and you'll be automatically entered in the contest.  That's it, no strings attached.  You don't have to link from your blog or tweet or anything like that.  Of course, if you do choose to spread the iggi-luv, I will smile doubly inside.  At the end of DIY MFA, I'll pick the winner by lottery.

What of the prize, you ask?  Since DIY MFA is all about writing, the prize will be about writing too.  After all, I may be making a crazy assumption here but I'm guessing that if you're reading this, you're probably a writer.  This means you must have some written stuff that could use a critique... which brings me to our prize.

Prize: One lucky winner will get 25 pages of his or her work critiqued by yours truly.*

*Work should be double-spaced, with standard margins and 12pt font.

Welcome To iggi U!

Please note: registration for iggi U and participation in the contest has closed.  Please visit the iggi U tab for more information on DIY MFA.  And stay tuned for more DIY MFA fun in the months to come.

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