View Full Version : Artistic/Biographical Statement: How to answer questions on workshop application????

04-13-2012, 05:06 PM
Hello! Novice writer here. I'm applying for a writers workshop this summer. The application has a section that says:

"Artistic/Biographical Statement: Please tell us about yourself, what project you're working on, and why and how this program would be helpful to you."

I've NEVER filled anything like this out before so I'm totally blind here. What is the standard protocol for answering these questions? My instinct was to say something like:

"Grew up in Pleasantville...graduated with a BA in Psychology @ Pleasant University...."

"My memoir project is about abandonment, racism, unrequited love...
The intended audience are misfits, underdogs...
My style is satirical, humorous, suspenseful..."

"This program would be helpful because structuring a plot is my weakness and I hope to improve my technique during the workshop..."

Or should I be more specific? ("My story is about my mother's battle with cancer...). FWIW, my writing sample is basically a summary (or "trailer") for my memoir, so it feels a little redundant if I were to summarize it here, too.

Should the biographical part be dry and formal (almost like a CV or resume) or can it be informal ("It was difficult growing up as a Jew in a mostly Catholic neighborhood of Pleasantville..."). FWIW, there is a separate section of the application for publication history (although I have no publications).

Finally, should I try to write in a "voice" with some style, or can do you think it can just be informational.

Thanks for any advice!

04-13-2012, 06:18 PM
I have no particular expertise, but I think you should write it with "voice" and style. They are asking about you as a person and an artist, so try to let who you are show in what you write. I also vote for specific details more than generalizations about what you're writing. Even more specific than your mother's "battle with cancer." I suggest you show what is really unique about you and your story.
Just my 2 cents of course. Good luck!

Susan Littlefield
04-13-2012, 06:49 PM
I agree with writing in your voice and you style and telling the truth about who you are. Just keep practicing your answers until you are satisfied. Good luck!

04-14-2012, 12:30 AM
cool thanks. any idea how specific my answers should be?

04-14-2012, 04:17 PM

Old Hack
04-14-2012, 05:01 PM
Sense, why don't you ask the people or organisation running the workshop for clarification?