Contest: Want to be Writer's Digest's next MFA blogger?

[Today’s entry is a guest post from WD Editor Jessica Strawser. A regular writing prompt follows. Happy Wednesday!]

Every June, when school buses no longer slow my morning commute and my evenings are brightened by excited kids chasing the ice cream truck after dinner, I can’t help but feel a wave of nostalgia for summer vacation.

But this year, not only does summer bring pangs of jealousy brought on by all of my (very relaxed looking, I must say) teacher friends (how did they already get so tan?), it also marks the end of a school year here at WD, as well: Our first-ever resident writing student blogger, Kate Monahan, is wrapping up her tenure at MFA Confidential as she looks ahead to her graduation from The New School’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program later this month.

Even if you haven’t been following Kate’s journey all along, you definitely won’t want to miss her final posts. For the past few weeks, Kate has been looking back on her time in the workshop and sharing lessons learned, perspectives on learning the craft of writing in general, and much more. Some recent highlights include:

• 5 Valuable Writing Tips From Her Most Trusted Professors

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Getting an MFA

Reflection Mode: Thinking About Life Inside an MFA Program

Important Elements of a Solid Creative Writing Program

Be sure to check them out—and to stay tuned for her final signoff later this month. And if you like what you read, don’t hesitate to leave a comment to wish Kate well as she embarks on the next chapter of her writing life. I know she’d love to hear from you. 

As much as we’re sad to see Kate go, we’re also looking ahead to the new school year (after we’ve had our own fill of ice cream, of course) when a new creative writing student will take the reigns of the MFA Confidential blog.

Would you jump at a chance to be our next resident blogger? If you’re enrolled in a graduate-level writing program (MFA, MA, low-res, you name it) for the next school year, you’re eligible to enter our second annual MFA Confidential competition! It’s free (yep, no entry fee)—all you need are a few sample blog posts showing why you’d be the right writer for the job. But hurry—the deadline is fast approaching on July 1. Learn more here:

* * *


free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings.
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

He had a habit of always reading his words aloud as he typed. Only today, he really should have kept his mouth shut.

A feature package on how to write and sell your
memoir. Interviews with Life of Pi author Yann Martel, and
the scribe behind “True Blood,” Charlaine Harris. The results of our
Pop Fiction competition. New markets for your work. For more, click

here to check the July/August 2010 issue of WD out.



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3 thoughts on “Contest: Want to be Writer's Digest's next MFA blogger?

  1. Dana Bailey

    Vernon sat in his dark corner cubby entering data into the monthly report spreadsheets. Pandora blared through his ear buds while he typed.

    “Two thousand four hundred and thirty two for May section one,” he spoke aloud as his fingers moved across the keys. “Four-five hundred section two. Three thousand one section three.”

    He continued with his reports until his eyes blurred. Taking a break, he opened an email from his wife complaining about his cousin Bill who was living at their house temporarily.

    “That dumbass Bill, I don’t know what his problem is,” Vernon replied. “He just kept staring at me like he had no idea what I was talking about. Really. The guy needs to get a personality. He’s so clueless. We’ll never be rid of him at this rate.”

    Vernon felt a tap on his right shoulder. He turned in his chair toward an angry faced Bill, his manager. Vernon took his ear buds off.

    “Please come to my office,” Bill said and swiftly walked in that direction.

    Vernon grabbed the folder off his desk and followed. “I didn’t think we’d meet again so soon. Here’s what I’ve got so far. I should have it finished by the end of the week.”

    Bill looked up, his face showing no emotion. “Thank you,” he said taking the folder. “Greg can finish it.”


    “Yes, Greg.”


    “Here’s a clue, you just got rid of me.”

    Vernon left the office an hour later carrying a box of his personals items still wondering what had happened.

  2. Mark James

    Martha . . that was funny!

    Zac, nice one.

    People think being an assassin is all play time, traveling around the world, tracking down targets. I see it in all those movies. But let me tell you, I had to take a typing class just to keep up with my paperwork. I’d hire a secretary, but sooner or later she’d start talking, and I’d end up with extra forms to fill in.

    I don’t know who I work for. What? You think they’re going to tell a guy who can track anything that moves that he works for John Smith? I only need a name and a face.

    Anyway, so I failed my class. Who needs all those fingers just to type? And home keys—that’s what I use to get in my front door. It was pouring rain outside and thundering. From my back table in Starbucks, I watched lightening slash through a dark sky. I sipped my coffee; cream, no sugar. The place was deserted except for me and the kid behind the counter.

    I was pecking away at my keyboard, filling in the blanks and I was doing pretty good, till I got to that big blank box, the one I hate the most, “Describe Job Properties and Resolution”. Just once, I want someone to tell me who reads that.

    I’m supposed to describe how I did it, how the target reacted, any last words I thought were important, and how I finished.

    I know. I shouldn’t complain. A job’s a job, right? And with the economy how it is, who am I to say no to good money?

    “Chased target into abandoned warehouse in docks district.” I don’t know why people do that. Why run to an empty building? Like what? I won’t find them? Won’t hear them breathing hard?

    I went back to hitting the keys. “Found target in rear of warehouse, concealed behind boxes of unknown product.” I always put that in now. One time some nutcase e-mailed me back, wanted to know what was in the boxes. I told him I was busy, didn’t have time to read labels.

    “Approached, and advised target to remain still. Target pulled down a box, and retreated deeper into warehouse.” That box was heavy, fell on my toes, really made me mad. It would have been better for him if he’d stayed still like I told him.

    “Cornered target against back wall of warehouse. Resolution: Firearm use was questionable because of unknown content of boxes. Decision to use knife to inflict fatal wound was based on location, time of day, and Job Properties. Assignment Memo advised to leave proof of injury and slow demise. Approximate time from initial wound to zero heartbeat: two hours. No significant words spoken. Job completed at 03:15, June 20th.”

    “That’s some book you’re writing.”

    I spun around, saw the kid from behind the counter cleaning a table. “You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that.”

    He must have seen something in my eyes, because he backed away, real slow.

    I try not read out loud when I fill in a Job Report, but it’s the best way to catch the typos. My fingers are good at a lot of things, typing isn’t one of them.

  3. Martha W

    I’m going to admit to laughing when I read this prompt. Two fun ones in a row… Zac, I’m in awe.

    Can’t wait to see where Mark goes with this one.


    Paul leaned back in his chair, looped his fingers together behind his neck. At least the screen wasn’t blank anymore. He smiled. He was almost there.


    He looked over his shoulder, almost flipping out of his seat. “Crap!” He slapped his hand on the floor just before the back legs slipped out from under him.

    Lisa covered her giggles with well-manicured fingers. “Are you okay?”

    He pushed upright, dusted off his pants just for something to do. “Fine.”

    “Good. Can we go out for dinner?”

    Paul raised his head to look at her. Had she lost her mind? “You go ahead. Call Christie or something.”

    Her lip trembled but she straightened her back. “Must be in a good part of your book then?”

    He smiled; the first one all day. “Yep. The best part.”

    Lisa nodded and headed to the kitchen. “I’ll call Mom. She’ll go.”

    Heaving a sigh of relief, Paul sat down. He rolled his chair tight to the desk, rubbed his fingers lightly over the keys to get the smooth feel again. The story picked back up in his head, played like a movie on a big screen somewhere. “Her lover set her coffee mug in front of her. Asking, ‘Cream and sugar?’ as he stared at the cleavage spilling from the flame red negligee.”

    “What?” Lisa poked her head back into the room. “Did you say something?”

    Paul jerked in his seat. Damn it. His worst habit from college was talking out loud while he wrote. He’d never been able to break it. “Nothing. Just writing.”

    She winked at him. “Let me know when you get to the dirty part.”

    He laughed until her head disappeared and his amusement fled as fast. Crap. He needed to focus. When was she leaving? “You talk to your mom?” he yelled across the room.

    “She’s picking me up in five minutes.”

    Thank God. “Okay.”

    He turned back to his computer, lost in a flash to the couple starring in his memory. “The slim brunette ran her fingers up his leg, pausing at the waist of his trousers. ‘Where’s the wife?’”

    A shuffling behind him momentarily distracted him until it registered that it was only Lisa.

    Then he was gone again. “’At home. Clueless,’ he said, reaching out a hand to stroke her hair.”


    He scowled at his screen, then at Lisa. “What?”

    “You do realize you’re writing your memoir?” She tilted her head as she moved behind him, running her hand along his shoulders.

    It took a minute for him to decipher what she meant. Just a second before he saw the flash of the frying pan aimed at his head, he realized he really should have kept his mouth shut.


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