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Kratistos

Creative Writing programs for aspiring comic book writer?

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Hey everyone, 

I am really passionate about comic books and manga and I would be interested in a program that is friendly towards teaching this kind of writing. Reading some of your posts, I get the feeling that some programs are not interested in anything outside of realist fiction. 

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Lynda Berry teaches at UW - Madison and is associated with the creative writing program. Brian Evenson at Cal Arts is open to graphic novel work (is a fan of it). I'm sure there are many others, but those are two that I'm specifically aware of. I suspect people at Alabama's program, or Brown's fiction program, might be open to graphic novel work as well. That said, I wouldn't limit yourself based on that criteria specifically. If you can put together a solid writing sample in either realist or experimental fiction (or poetry or nonfiction, which are less competitive in terms of admission) and include some samples of your graphic work, you might find a lot to love in programs that don't directly cater to graphic novel writing. Many schools are going to have great illustration programs that you'll be able to take courses in as well as literature courses that focus on the graphic novel / manga as a medium. There is the "comics college," or CCS, but it isn't funded, and you're probably better off just doing a summer program there while at another MFA. Like, programs many programs have 3 years funding (Minnesota, LSU, Alabama), summer grant opportunities, and you might be able to pull additional funding to specifically attend CCS for a couple of weeks. You'll also learn a lot  about narrative or poetic construction (depending on your genre) that you'll be able to apply to your graphic novel / manga work. In most programs, there's definately space to take something like and illustration course every semester. So, if that's your thing, go for it. Don't let the specifics of the program being focused on graphic novel work stop you from getting the time/space/funding to do your work. It wouldn't hurt to apply to some programs that lean toward that, but if you can pull a sample that stretches beyond that in terms of your primary writing sample, you'll open yourself up to a lot more opportunities. Apply widely to funded programs where you can find illustration programs / graphic novel courses. See what happens.

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I also just did a quick google and I found this post on THE MFA BLOG:

http://creative-writing-mfa-handbook.blogspot.com/2010/10/graphic-novel-and-mfa.html

Ohio State, Michigan, UNC- Wilmington (but you can basically add any major college to this list, especially of the public variety): graphic novels are a quickly growing / popular critical discipline.

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You could also try one of the low-residency programs like Stonecoast, UC Riverside, Western State Colorado, Red Earth, or Goddard that seem to be open to "popular fiction" of all varieties. North Carolina State, Syracuse, and Kansas are allegedly open to sci-fi/fantasy stuff as well. 

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