“To be, or not to be, that is the question,” Shakespeare posed back in early 1600 when his play, HAMLET, first appeared. Borrowing from the bard, I applied that question to the MFA program, the Masters of Fine Arts degree, which many accomplished writers have obtained, and many more accomplished writers have not. Considering the pros and cons of the MFA came to me via Lisa Ciarfella, an MFA student I met in Long Beach, California, at the Coffee House Writers’ Group. Lisa was interested in my opinion of the
MFA degree and I honestly didn’t have one. My own higher education was a Bachelor of Applied Arts in radio and television writing, and then I went on to dabble in political science and economics while I debated competitively and wrote my first bestselling novel, on the
side. (I flunked out of economics, sadly.)
To get an answer for Lisa and others pondering the same thing, I decided to turn to a few colleagues/esteemed writers from the crime writing world, STEVE WEDDLE, author of NYT bestselling COUNTRY HARDBALL, and holder of an MFA degree from Louisiana State University; and SAM WIEBE, author of the award-winning LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS, and holder of an MA in English Literature.
Lisa and I are currently asking Steve and Sam the hard questions. Part 1 of the MFA series will debut soon. If you have any questions you’d like addressed I love to hear from you in the Comments below. —Elaine Ash