Columns > Published on April 28th, 2020

The Gabino Iglesias Online MFA: Second Semester

Original image by mentatdgt

A couple weeks ago I gave you an introduction to the Gabino Iglesias online MFA, and gave you a bit of info about the first nine classes (if you missed it, check it out HERE). Well, now it's time to discuss the classes you'll be taking during the second semester. Here we go!

Your Insecurities Suck (Kill Them)

I know you're insecure. I'm insecure as well. I also hear that voice telling me my work is awful. You know what? You can murder those thoughts. The trick is accepting the fuckers will come back like zombies with an agenda. You know what you need to do with them when they come back? Grab your hustle shotgun and shoot them right between the eyes. In this class, we will show you how to walk the fine line between knowing you have what it takes to get the work done and knowing that those insecurities are great reminders to stay humble and work hard at all times to improve. Oh, and we'll go over shotgun safety so you don't accidentally blow your foot off.

Not Asking Authors to Hook You Up With Their Agent

Agents are something we will discuss at length in the third semester. For now, all you need to know is that the desperation you feel to find an agent and then talk about your agent online like a bunch of folks do is misguided and should be buried in the yard next to the corpses of your insecurities. The only time it's okay to ask a famous writer to hook you up with their agent is fucking never. Read the previous line again. Done? Good, now keep that in mind at all times. This doesn't mean that one or two won't offer. Maybe they will and maybe they won't. What it means is that it's touchy and important, so don't be an ass about it. Asking for blurbs is already hard (we'll also talk about this later on), so please stay away from asking for agent connections. In this class we will show you how to go about getting an agent the right way.

Ignoring Negative Reviews

The only time it's okay to ask a famous writer to hook you up with their agent is fucking never.

You'll probably make the mistake of reading reviews of your work. We all do. However, a simple "Thanks!" will do when they're positive and silence is the only option when they're negative. Once you put a book out there, it doesn't belong to you anymore, and people are entitled to praise it as much as they want or to criticize/critique it as much as they want (we will go into the differences between these last two in class). In any case, this class includes breathing exercises and safe ways to express and cope with your anger and bruised ego when you get a negative review. 

Getting Fucking Used to Editing II

One semester of editing isn't enough. It isn't enough because editing will always be there. It isn't enough because editing is how you show your work you care about it. It's not enough because the difference between making a good first impression and looking like an idiot who leaves a typo in the first paragraph of a query is editing. One semester of editing isn't enough because even great editors need editing. This class will help you get used to it by forcing you to pull out old stories or poems and go over them again and again. You will hate this class, but you will be a much better writer because of it.

It's Called Representation

There's a thing out there called representation. It matters. In this class we're going to talk about why it matters and what you can do to help no matter who you are, what you look like, or who you like to kiss. It'll be awesome.

Do Some More Research

You already know research is crucial, so this class is about research as a tool that can give you new ideas, enrich your narratives, and even keep hateful gun experts outta your hair. Just like one semester of editing isn't enough, one semester of research isn't enough. Google isn't enough. In fact, we will even make you write a story based on a random academic peer reviewed journal article. It might be engineering or math, biology or chemistry. Whatever. You won't know until you get it, and then you'll have to do research to understand what the hell you're reading. Oh, you're gonna develop a whole new set of skills in this class, my friend.

No One Owes You A Thing

No one has to read your book. No one has to care that you write. No one has to pay attention to you or go to your reading or protect your precious feelings and not tell you your reading was boring if they end up going to it. No agent owes you their time. No reviewer owes you a glowing review. The only people who owe you are those who bought your work and haven't paid you yet. This class will help you understand that no one owes you a thing in this business. Accepting it will be tough, but you'll be much happier once you do.

How to Crush Deadlines

Deadlines suck. Deadlines are awesome. Missing a deadline is horrible. Making your deadlines shows people you're a professional. In this class we'll show you how to activate a beast mode in your brain that makes you see deadlines as enemies to be vanquished. You will learn that deadline means you're dead if you don't get it done. This is a class in which we prepare you to turn your hustle into a laser beam that can focus on one thing at a time; the thing that needs to get done.

That's your second semester! Stay tuned. The third one is just around the corner.

Purchase Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias at Bookshop

About the author

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of ZERO SAINTS, HUNGRY DARKNESS, and GUTMOUTH. His reviews have appeared in Electric Literature, The Rumpus, 3AM Magazine, Marginalia, The Collagist, Heavy Feather Review, Crimespree, Out of the Gutter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, HorrorTalk, Verbicide, and many other print and online venues. Y

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