Taken from the blog posting 'What Helps and Hurts When Learning to Write' by Michele Karlsberg, published at the San Francisco Bay Times"
Michele Karlsberg: What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was the least useful or most destructive?
Felice Picano: Aside from the basic English 101 class everyone took, I never had a writing course, and therefore I suppose I never leaned to write. I was an art major in college, and I took some literature classes to hang with friends. I looked for art jobs and I kept getting shunted into assistant editor/writer jobs. There, I was half-assedly taught on the run how to do commercial journalism. Suddenly, one day, people said I was a writer.
I’d been fooling around with stories, so when I quit work as a magazine editor, I sat down and wrote a novel. It found an agent, and although it never sold, another agent eventually took me on. I taught myself poetry by trying out all the poetic forms and rhyme schemes. I began playwriting because someone wanted to adapt a story of mine to the stage. When I looked at their attempt, I said, “I can do better than that.” I did. Four more plays have been produced. I learned to write screenplays by studying one that I swiped from a film producer’s office after I’d signed his contract. I wrote it using an aqua-ink Olivetti at the Beverly Hills Hotel last used by Kim Novak for thank you notes.
I think the most destructive thing for most real writers is an MFA in Creative Writing. Non-genre writing accounts for less than 10% of all fiction sold; yet that is what is overwhelmingly taught. Actually, all they’re teaching is how to teach other people creative writing so they can then get an MFA and teach other students.
Read the whole post at SFBayTimes.com Here