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Starting a Masters in Creative Writing

Postgraduate study

I’m about to start a Masters in Creative Writing.

This is not your ordinary MA in Creative Writing. Take a gander at the courses on offer and you’ll see lots of one year programmes (full-time) exploring the theory and themes of narrative and genre, workshops on poetry, screenwriting and non-fiction, all culminating in a final dissertation that can be a chapter from a novel or a series of short stories in region the 15-20,000 words.

Not so here mate! There is no faff on this course. The lectures are all about how to make you a better writer. Narrative, plot, characterisation are all topics of study have but the focus is and will also be on making you the best damn novelist you can be! Oh, and did I mention that to graduate I have to hand in a complete first draft of a novel? That’s around 80k words… the equivalent of a PhD thesis!

Who needs sleep? Clearly not me!

Why A Masters in Creative Writing? Why not just write a book?

Good question. The honest answer is… I tried! So. Many. Damn. Times!

For example, I have:

  • Had several unsuccessful attempts at NaNoWriMo – see my previous posts
  • Stacks of self-help books for aspiring writers
  • Attended a couple of generalist creative writing courses
  • Tried just sit down and write in my free time

Some were more successful than others. But, in the end, it was “nice try, but no cigar.”

Writing desk with books and picture

Setting myself up for success

Finding this MA was kismet: the opportunity came at the right time and felt like the right option for me. Here are a few things that made this MA make sense:

  • Writing is a lonely game but this way I’ll be sharing the highs and lows with a group of other crazy people who are also trying reach the promised land of Published Authordom.
  • It’s a genre-specific course for crime thriller writers
  • There’s no hiding! If the assignments aren’t done… well… I’ll fail, wasting my time and my money (two things I value highly).
  • I get a master’s degree AND a novel at the end of it all!

So, here’s to success! (And making wordcount… and graduating…. and plots that don’t suck… and characters who aren’t boring… and an agent [pretty please!]… and a book deal [pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top!]…)


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