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Book Description

Get the Knowledge Without the College!

You are a writer. You dream of sharing your words with the world, and you're willing to put in the hard work to achieve success. You may have even considered earning your MFA, but for whatever reason--tuition costs, the time commitment, or other responsibilities--you've never been able to do it. Or maybe you've been looking for a self-guided approach so you don't have to go back to school.

This book is for you.

DIY MFA is the do-it-yourself alternative to a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. By combining the three main components of a traditional MFA--writing, reading, and community--it teaches you how to craft compelling stories, engage your readers, and publish your work.

Inside you'll learn how to:
  • Set customized goals for writing and learning.
  • Generate ideas on demand.
  • Outline your book from beginning to end.
  • Breathe life into your characters.
  • Master point of view, voice, dialogue, and more.
  • Read with a "writer's eye" to emulate the techniques of others.
  • Network like a pro, get the most out of writing workshops, and submit your work successfully.
Writing belongs to everyone--not only those who earn a degree. With DIY MFA, you can take charge of your writing, produce high-quality work, get published, and build a writing career.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Note
  4. Dedication
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. About the Author
  7. Foreword
  8. Orientation
    1. Chapter 1: Discover the DIY MFA Mind-Set
      1. What Is DIY MFA?
      2. The DIY MFA Mind-Set
    2. Chapter 2: Customize Your Learning
      1. Myth 1: You Need an MFA to Teach Writing
      2. Myth 2: The MFA Is a Shortcut to Getting Published
      3. Myth 3: An MFA Program Will Force You to Make Writing a Priority
      4. Genre Writing in MFA Programs
      5. Should You Pursue an MFA?
      6. How DIY MFA Works
    3. Chapter 3: Set Goals and Start Strong
      1. Road Trip!
      2. Hit the Road
  9. Write with Focus
    1. Chapter 4: Motivate Yourself
      1. Reality Check
      2. Effective Writing Habits
    2. Chapter 5: Fail Better
      1. The Secret About Failure
    3. Chapter 6: Generate Ideas on Demand
      1. Creative Myths
      2. Generate Ideas
    4. Chapter 7: Outline Your Book Like a Boss
      1. Scene Cards
      2. Mind Maps
      3. Story Sketch
      4. Story Map
      5. Mood Boards
    5. Chapter 8: Create Compelling Characters
      1. Create a Cast of Characters
    6. Chapter 9: Bring Those Characters to Life
      1. The “TADA!” Method for Showing Character
      2. The Character Compass
      3. What Does Your Character Want?
    7. Chapter 10: Begin at the Beginning
      1. Act One: The Beginning
      2. Decision One: The Point of No Return
    8. Chapter 11: Muddle Through the Middle
      1. Story Archetypes
      2. Act Two: The Middle
    9. Chapter 12: Arrive at the End
      1. Decision Two: The Dark Night of the Soul
      2. Act Three: The End
    10. Chapter 13: Give Your Story a Voice
      1. How to Look at Voice
      2. How to Hone Your Voice
    11. Chapter 14: Choose Your Point of View
      1. Choosing a Point of View
    12. Chapter 15: Weave Your Story’s World
      1. The Role of Exposition
      2. Techniques for Brilliant Description
      3. World-Building
    13. Chapter 16: Deliver Dazzling Dialogue
      1. The Nine Nos of Dialogue
      2. Perfect Your Punctuation
    14. Chapter 17: Revise in Layers
      1. Draft Zero
      2. The Revision Pyramid
  10. Read with Purpose
    1. Chapter 18: Be a Reader First
      1. Why You Should Read with Purpose
      2. The Essentials
      3. Build Your Reading List
    2. Chapter 19: Read Like a Writer
      1. Let’s Start with the Basics
      2. Reading Like a Revolutionary
      3. Where Do We Go from Here?
    3. Chapter 20: Build Your Expertise
      1. Why You Should Respond to What You Read
      2. Short Responses to Individual Works
      3. Build Your Own Literature Anthology
      4. Long Responses to a Body of Literature
      5. Maintaining Balance
  11. Build Your Community
    1. Chapter 21: Establish Your Circle of Trust
      1. Writing Friends: Your Circle of Trust
    2. Chapter 22: Work That Workshop
      1. What Type of Feedback Is Right for You?
      2. What to Look for in a Critique Community
      3. Different Types of Critique
      4. Giving and Receiving Critique
    3. Chapter 23: Craft Your Author Identity
      1. Author Identity
      2. The Power of Zero
    4. Chapter 24: Develop Your Home Base
      1. Build Your Home Base
    5. Chapter 25: Know Your Reader
      1. Your Ideal Reader
      2. Reader Archetypes
    6. Chapter 26: Network Like a Pro
      1. Writing Conferences and Events
    7. Chapter 27: Submit Your Work
      1. Guest Blogging
      2. Literary Magazines
      3. Publishing a Book
    8. Commencement