MFAs and Literary Conventions

Editor Bruce Bethke asks (I paraphrase),

Why is it that so many of the most dreadful stories submitted to Stupefying Stories, come from people who lead-off their cover letter with their MFA in creative writing?

trash bin filled with words

The Bin of Outmoded Literary Concepts


I’m sure you’re missing a lot of good symbolism and, you know, stuff, that the MFAs are including in their stories. Writing is a fine art, hence the name of the program, and like all art its value should not be tied to the uninformed shallow “enjoyment” of ordinary consumers. Readers must labor (and suffer) to come to an understanding of the artist’s vision, for the experience to be worth anything. You are obviously a philistine tied to outmoded concepts of plot, point of view consistency, and other artificial constraints on artistic freedom. You are everything that’s wrong with modern society.

(to which Bruce replied, “I know. And I’m proud of it.”)


1 comment

  1. I feel my time has been wasted if I don’t break into a sweat reading literature. No pain, no gain.

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