This applicant recounts a particular incident that gives the reader real insight into what makes her “tick.” Notice, by the way, that the discussion of religion is handled in a way that is not likely to offend any reader.
Two years ago, when I was a junior in college, I wrote a story entitled “It Came from Catholic School.” My friends, fellow veterans of plaid uniforms and daily masses, liked it and encouraged me to submit it when the English department magazine made its annual call for stories. They published the story and asked me to read from it at a reading primarily devoted to student poetry. Well, I was pretty nervous about this. The only readings I’d done before a crowd were Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and the occasional Responsorial Psalm—and that wasn’t my writing on the line. I grew more nervous as I sat there that night, listening to poem after poem on angst and ennui. I couldn’t imagine how the students and faculty around me, who were all listening intently with properly contorted faces, would respond to my grotesque little girl. But I stood up and read a passage, a little shaky at first. Then I heard laughs, where I’d hoped I would, and also in places that surprised me. After the reading, people wanted to shake my hand. One woman thanked me for injecting a little levity into the proceedings. I felt satisfaction in my work as never before.
At that reading, I realized I could write things that made people laugh—not just friends who felt obligated, but complete strangers. I really liked that feeling, and it’s the promise of that laughter that motivates me to continue writing. I also realized that my work wasn’t frivolous, that I could influence a reader, that my characters seemed real. For the first time, I felt that I could do what I really wanted to do—write.
I look forward to progressing through a series of intimate workshops en route to an MFA degree at your school. The interdisciplinary nature of the program appeals to me. Although I want to concentrate on Fiction, I would like to take screenwriting electives as well. I think my humor translates well to teleplays, and I would like to explore that avenue through the comedy writing courses your school offers. I aim to develop my natural strengths—humor, voice, and dialogue, while experimenting with the genres.
Because I’m generally at the mercy of my characters, I can’t outline a specific writing goal. I do envision myself producing a collection of short stories featuring female protagonists. Women’s issues are implicit in my writing, and I would welcome the chance to study with [faculty name]. My stories feature a range of women—from the precocious heroine of the aforementioned story to a “white trash” cashier, and I plan to cover a still broader scope. Mainly, I’m looking to devote myself to the work. And I hope to make some people laugh along the way.