Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 18, 2013

The DIY MFA Concept

gabriellaI was going over my registration last night for the New Jersey SCBWI Conference and noticed an interesting intensive workshop titled Do-it-Yourself MFA in Writing for Children being held on June 7th at the conference. This intensive will focus on how writers can create a customized learning experience without going to school.

Gabriela Pereira will introduce the DIY MFA concept and then guide writers through the three main subtopics of DIY MFA. Write With Focus: This segment will focus on creativity and motivation. In particular it will cover techniques to help jumpstart a story or boost a work-in progress that has hit a rut. Read With Purpose: In this section, the emphasis shifts to reading like a writer. She will teach techniques that writers can use to make the most of their reading. Techniques that are not just about reading, but how by reading, you can gain a deeper understanding of the writing process. Build Your Community: In the last segment of the Intensive, Gabriela will shift gears and talk about building writing community. This section will include some information about building writer-to-writer relationships and community, but the primary focus will be on how writers can connect with their readers.

So I went to to see what other information I could find out about Gabriela Pereira. I discovered there was a lot of good information, but I wanted more, so I contacted Gabriela, so I could get answers.  This is what I found out: 

Before Gabriela Pereira started DIY MFA, she was a founding editor of a literary magazine, which gave her a lot of great experience in reading others’ writing with an “editor’s eye.” One of the things she does with DIY MFA is work as a content editor with writers, helping them write, revise and shape their books. She doesn’t advertise this service because she’s very selective about the clients she takes on. Writers she works with must be serious and ready to work hard. Gabriela has had clients go on to sign with agents and get book deals as well.

After she graduated from the MFA program at The New School (concentration in Writing for Children), Gabriela was inspired to share her knowledge by starting DIY MFA. She has spent the last few years building her audience and now she is branching out by doing workshops with The workshops have been greeted with a great response and turnout.

DIY MFA is also developing electronic workbooks and other self-guided workshop-type products like the Starter Kit which people can sign up to receive on the DIY MFA website. I signed up to get mine last night and it is filled with lots of information.  It was painless and free to receive. even has a Writer Igniter, which shuffles characters, situations, props, and settings to help trigger ideas. Very Cool! Check it out – especially if you need a spark to ignite a new story or break the writer’s block that may be plaguing you.

Gabriela is the spark, the Instigator of DIY MFA. 

Here is a more detailed bio:  

Gabriela Pereira earned her “real” MFA from The New School, in New York. While undercover as a graduate student, she collected information and discovered new techniques, even inventing a few writing tools of her own. Now she wants to share everything she learned with all writers.

Gabriela is a freelance writing teacher and leads workshops throughout New York City. She has taught at 826NYC, Everybody Wins and the East Harlem Tutorial Program, as well as a local writing workshop she built from the ground up. With a concentration in Writing for Children, when she’s not working on DIY MFA Gabriela loves to write middle grade and teen fiction, with a little “fiction for grown-ups” thrown in for good measure. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines and in a lesson plan anthology by 826 National. She enjoys coming up with new dastardly plans and innovative resources to share at DIY MFA.

For the latest articles, classes and tools, visit Gabriela lives in NYC with “lawyer-hubby,” the “little guy,” and a collection of feline critters. Her secret dream is to take over the world.



Hope you will consider coming to the conference.  Here is the link:

Talk tomorrow,



  1. very cool sp\ounding…want to check it out at conference! thanks for sharing that… 😉


    • Christina,

      I’ll do a blog about you in May. Will send interview questions next week.



  2. What a fascinating concept. thanks for posting this, I will check her out!


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