Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SUBMITTED: My Application and Portfolio the University of British Columbia for their Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing.

I finally did it. I've been fiddling with this for well over a month (putting most of my other writing on hold) to work on my portfolio pieces. I have to pick the genres of writing I want to study, including a main genre - and I chose Fiction (main genre) and Writing for Children, with Screenwriting and Creative Non-Fiction on the side.

For my main genre fiction sample, I put in a revised version of "House Hunting". Even now, I think it's one of my best pieces, and the only one to receive a "sooo so close, but no cigar" from an editor of a magazine. I had to cut it down to 20 pages (from 29) to fit the sample requirements, but I think I did alright. For my Writing for Children sample I wrote a whole new story, "A Clean Trade," about a girl and a magical washing machine.

I was much more nervous about "A Clean Trade" because it was a new story and hadn't gone through the same amount of feedback and revision as the much older "House Hunting." It still got a lot of feedback, just not same amount because there is a deadline.

I finished both revisions and stories in early October, and started on the actual application writing, and I've pretty much been a nervous wreck ever since. I've proofread the stories a million times, and couldn't help but cut a few words or any a new phrase each time. The deadline was coming up, and I actually wondered at the last minute whether I should add a Creative Non-Fiction sample to my portfolio seeing as how I've done so much of it for The Gateway, Green Man Review, and this very own blog (I decided against it - as I couldn't find my best pieces in their original published formats and I felt that adding something this new at the 11th hour would not help my application).

I was always pretty convinced I'd get into VFS, but the MFA Creative Writing Program at UBC? HARD. OLD. PRESTIGIOUS. Holy crap, their alumni have won the Giller, won Genies, been shortlisted for IMPAC awards. I wasn't up to their level! They only accept 60 students a year! I'm not good enough!

But I finally decided to send it in yesterday. I'd had enough. The deadline's in two weeks, but I finally realized I was done. My stories were finished and if they sucked now, they weren't going to be any better in two weeks and would probably be even worse if I kept compulsively fiddling with them. The same with my application - I pored over it to make sure I didn't make any spelling mistakes, and while I moaned that I didn't have enough awards or fiction publications or samples to put on it, I realized that I wouldn't have any more to add in two weeks.

So I finally sent it in. I'm already convinced I must have made a million unwitting mistakes, but now I feel strangely peaceful, because I know now that I'm past the point where I can do anything about it. I can go back to my writing (and preparing for NaNoWriMo!), and try to get some more things published. I really really want to get accepted, but if in February it turns out I was rejected, at least I'll have a nice little nest egg I won't have to spend on tuition and living expenses, eh?


  1. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Good luck on your app. I'm currently prepping to send out grad school applications. It's super stressful!

  2. Good luck with your applications!