Back to writing school follow-up
About a dozen Ames and Des Moines area members of SCBWI gathered today to hear panel members talk about their experiences as students and teachers of writing. Audience members shared some of their own experiences too.
Cindy Johnson talked about taking one of the Institute for Children's Literature courses in writing for children. She said the materials alone were worth the tuition. Sharelle Byars Moranville, a part-time ICL instructor, agreed. You don't have to be an ICL student to receive their free email newsletter or use their online chat.
SCBWI members who are interested in ICL may also want to visit the SCBWI discussion board and do a search on ICL. There have been several discussions about it, and I think the current pricing was mentioned too. The price for the course isn't easily discerned from their materials.
Kay Smith talked about her experiences with weekend and week-long writing courses at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Kay has found these courses really useful. All students are welcome. No need to qualify for admission except by your willingness to learn.
Kay took a week-long course this summer, Scene By Scene: Building A Middle-Grade/Young Adult Novel, taught by Sharelle. Kay said she came away with so much to work with from that course that she may not take a course next summer. Sharelle said she'll be taking next summer off from teaching at Iowa too.
Prices for the weekend courses run about $225 and week-long courses are $475-500. The fee doesn't include housing but some meals. The courses are non-credit.
I talked about the MFA in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College. Next year the program will be 10 years old. I've written quite a bit about my experiences in the program on this blog, so I won't summarize them here. Attending VC is an expensive venture, about $6,500 per semester (4 semesters total), including food and dorm. But for those with the time, the energy, and the willingness to go into student loan debt, it is undoubtedly one of the best investments you can make in yourself as a writer.
A new low-residency MFA for children's writers is starting up at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota in January. Several former VC faculty have headed to Hamline, so I'm sure the programs will be similar. The big difference for the first few semesters at Hamline is that they won't have the upperclassmen there to help show the underclassmen the ropes. The community of writers, both the faculty and the students, is one of the great things about VC. Hamline will surely get there eventually.