PublishHER Podcast Episode 105: DIY your MFA with guest Gabriela Pereira

PublishHER Podcast Episode 105: DIY your MFA with guest Gabriela Pereira

Are you a fiction or genre writer looking to take your craft to the next level? Join DIY MFA, where founder Gabriela Pereira empowers writers to succeed in their chosen genres with their unique approach to teaching.

In this episode, our guest Gabriela Pereira will debunk some writing myths about whether you need an MFA to be a good writer and help you develop a stronger foundation for success in your chosen genres.

DIY MFA provides a space for self-starters who want to learn and succeed in their chosen genres. – Gabriela Pereira

In this episode, you'll be able to:

  • Understand how DIY MFA homes in on fiction and genre writers, opening up new avenues of storytelling and engagement.
  • Gain insights into the unique analytical techniques taught by DIY MFA, geared towards enriching your literary perspective and writing abilities.
  • Recognize the convenience and adaptability of DIY MFA's courses, designed to accommodate diverse interest levels and schedules.
  • Uncover the smooth enrollment procedure and the ready accessibility of DIY MFA's courses, bringing superior writing instruction to your doorstep.
  • Grasp the fundamental values of this program and their indispensable part in guiding your literary journey, inspiring originality, and enhancing your narrative capacity.


DIY MFA's distinct focus on genre and fiction writers

Gabriela Pereira's program provides unique support for genre and fiction writers. The organization stands out by working to fill the gap often left by traditional MFA programs, which typically exclude specialization in genres like romance or cozy mystery. This distinct focus ensures these writers receive the guidance and resources they need to excel in their craft.

Key Takeaways

  • DIY MFA helps genre and fiction writers to learn the strategies and techniques peculiar to these writing genres.
  • Unveil the reading strategies and analytical tools taught by DIY MFA, aiming to empower and streamline your writing process.
  • Get familiar with the tailored adaptability and ease-of-access of DIY MFA's courses, facilitating writing education tailored to your needs.

Memorable Moments:

00:01:17 – The Beginnings of DIY MFA,
Gabriella shares the story of how DIY MFA started as an idea after her graduation from a traditional program. She explains how the concept gained traction through a blog post and an experiment in September 2010, and how it eventually grew into a business model.

00:06:03 – Taking an Entrepreneurial Approach,
Alexa and Gabriella discuss the importance of taking an entrepreneurial approach to writing and how DIY MFA helps writers do just that. They highlight the opportunities that have arisen due to the boom in self-publishing and the need for writers to build their own author platforms.

00:08:01 – The Three Components of DIY MFA,
Gabriella explains the three components of DIY MFA: writing with focus, reading with purpose, and building a community. She discusses how DIY MFA addresses both the craft and motivation/productivity aspects of writing, as well as the importance of reading widely and strategically.

00:13:56 – DIY MFA's Focus on Fiction Writing,
DIY MFA primarily focuses on fiction and memoir writing, providing resources and courses for writers with a narrative or storyline. However, they also welcome poets, essayists, and genre fiction writers who are often overlooked by traditional programs.

00:15:12 – Meeting the Needs of Genre Writers,
DIY MFA recognizes the lack of MFA programs that specialize in genre fiction writing. They aim to fill this gap by offering resources and instruction specifically tailored to genre writers, helping them improve their craft and find the support they need.

Learn more at:

Visit the DIY MFA website: This is the official website of Gabriela Pereira's program. Here, you can find information about the program, including courses, resources, and community opportunities.

Check out the DIY MFA book: Gabriela Pereira is the author of DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, and Build Your Community. This book is a comprehensive guide to creating your own experience and is available for purchase on various online platforms, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For more information check out Gabriela's LinkedIn profile or follow her on social media.

Want more tips for fiction authors? Here are a few recent podcast episodes:
PublishHER Podcast Episode 104: Using Archives to Write Your Book with Amy Tector

PublishHER Podcast Episode 104: Using Archives to Write Your Book with Amy Tector

Amy Tector and Alexa Bigwarfe discuss using archives for both research and setting in your novels. Amy is the author of THE HONEYBEE EMERALDS, a book club fiction set in Paris and THE FOULEST THINGS, a murder mystery set in Ottawa.

If you're feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by the lack of historical accuracy and engaging details in your writing, despite your best efforts to research, then you need to try using archives. Throughout the episode, Amy highlights how they can contribute to the authenticity and richness of a narrative, offering unique historical details and unexpected stories. She encourages writers not to shy away from archives and explores the accessibility of these valuable resources.

Archives give you the unfiltered life, the unexpected things that were never created with a purpose, making them a great resource for writers. – Amy Tector

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The indispensable contribution of archives in supplementing research and crafting insightful write-ups.
  • How to exploit them for polished research work essential in writing.
  • Amy Tector's riveting encounter with using primary sources from archives to fuel her literary creations.
  • Canada's National Archives Library and Archives Canada collection of historical records and documents.
  • Why you should explore the archive department in your local area or the archives related to your specific writing interests to uncover hidden stories and insights.
  • Consider incorporating archival research into your own writing process to bring a unique perspective and depth to your stories.
  • The importance of encouraging people to support indie authors by buying their books and spreading the word!
  • Amy Tector's debut novel, The Honeybee Emeralds, available now.


Uncovering the Role of Archives

Archives act as a treasure trove of history, housing original, unpublished materials. They're akin to libraries but hold a distinct, more candid take on past events, people and societies. Understanding and utilizing these distinct resources can inject an authentic flavor into writing, enhancing its immersive quality. The digitization of certain resources has eased access, though a significant portion still requires in-person visits. Seizing the potential of these unique records can deliver a riveting experience, giving writers the extraordinary opportunity to touch and connect with materials once held by historical figures.

Key Takeaways

  • Archives magnify the value of history and enhance a writer’s perspective.
  • Learn essential strategies for leveraging archived materials to construct a well-researched and informed narrative.
  • Walk alongside Amy Tector as she unfolds her adventure of incorporating archives in her masterpiece mystery novels.
  • Get acquainted with the open-access nature of your local archive department and the support extended by reference archivists.

Memorable Moments:

00:07:38 – Using Archives for Research,
Before visiting an archive, it's essential to have a good understanding of your research topic. Primary materials are unique, so knowing where to find them requires prior knowledge. Many archive departments still require in-person visits, offering the experience of physically touching historical documents.

00:11:21 – Amy Tector's Journey with Archives,
Amy's interest in writing and history led her to a career in archiving. She worked as a reference archivist, answering research questions and discovering countless story ideas. Her novels, including “The Dominion Archives Mysteries,” are heavily influenced by her experiences and fascination.

00:16:05 – Using Archives for Storytelling,
Amy Tector discusses their value in storytelling, particularly for authors writing historical fiction or stories with a historical element. While they can be intimidating, there are reference archivists available to help researchers navigate and access the information they need.

Want more tips for fiction authors? Here are a few recent podcast episodes: