I'm applying to get into Brandon Sanderson's writing class this coming winter semester. As such, I've begun to fill out his application and I ran into a problem. One question asks "In 400 words or less, tell why Brandon should choose you to be in this class." The response I dictated is a poem, exactly 400 words long, each line 20 words long. It's also acrostically built. I've listed my response here,

I am the least of all writers. My skill is unhoned, my prose weak, my writing is plain to most.
Now is the time when I need help. I recognize that with this superb group, my skill I cannot boast.
Ever lacking the words which seem to flow so freely, my pen seems to be heavy in my meager hands.
Except I learn from those who are greatest, my words I can not improve. I, just a student, a fan.
Dare I pray, dare I hope that I can achieve great things? With your help, I know it is possible.
Herein lies my hope, my creed. I am as relentless as the beating sun, my thirst for success is palpable.
Even as the setting sun sets each day, my quest to publish, to write, to dream, follows a similar pattern.
Like the tortoise, I move slowly, writing little each day. My dream is yet far away, from Earth to Saturn.
Praying for a miracle, this turtle desires to move much faster. Give me my wings, this turtle becomes a dragon.
With the help of these who can be considered gods, I fly to become a writer, to join the wagon.
I, despite all of my faults and weaknesses, am not to be underestimated. The gods will shake at my tenacity.
That they may know that I mean to become as they, I will submit to them this, my daring audacity.
How does one challenge a god, you may ask? By breaking them down and telling them, they too are human.
With all of us together, our hands will build worlds. With my help gain the skill of a new man.
Rising like the flames of a fire, my passion builds relentlessly. My universe is yet to be unraveled or revealed.
In me, there is a people whose voice demands to be heard. I cannot deny them, nor keep them sealed.
Take away what you will of me, for I know one truth. In me are the hopes of a universe.
I will tell their story even if I die in the process. It is my duty; it is my curse.
Now that I’ve unfolded for you, what I can do, tell me that I am picked, that I am appointed.
Give me this seat, and I will promise you this. I, least of all writers, will not leave you disappointed.

Is this poem out of bounds of what I should have written (as in, should I have been more direct), or would it be admissible (note: I still have about a month before I can submit the application)?

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    I've voted to close this because you're asking for a critique. This isn't the place for that, sorry. – Matthew Dave Sep 28 '18 at 20:18
  • @MatthewDave, sorry, this is my first question on writing SE. Wasn't sure if this would be relevant or not, – Joe-You-Know Sep 28 '18 at 22:04
  • All good, I understand. – Matthew Dave Sep 28 '18 at 22:17

It isn’t too abstract, though it might be a bit downbeat.

My suggestion is, in concise prose, write why you want a place in his workshop and what you hope to achieve. Tell him what you hope to learn.

Write from your heart, but emphasize the positive. He knows that all applicants want to hone their skills and learn from him. What, exactly, do you want to learn from him? Answer that question.

  • An excellent suggestion. So, you think the poem is a bad idea then, that I should be more succinct in what I'm looking for? – Joe-You-Know Sep 28 '18 at 17:02
  • I think it might distract from what you want to express. Brevity is always welcome. – Rasdashan Sep 28 '18 at 17:36

Yeah... this is the point where they need to be sold on you, not asked to admire your humility. I'd also find issues that a lot of you analogy does not work... I've never really associated tortises with a desire to become astronauts, nor turtles (different than tortises, but I'm being pedantic here), to become dragons. The stuff about gods is just... I don't know... seems too arrogant... dunno, I'm not a poet. Acrostics don't usually use rhyme schemes and generally, are a bit more direct. And they are not looking for someone to help, they are looking to teach.

I would be much more interested in the kinds of stories you like to write, themes you want to explore (big philosophies), and things that inspire you... This just seems like it's being arrogant and humble at the same time and not doing a good job at either. Also, is Brandon Sanderson an individual or an organization named after an individual? If the former, I'd talk about what his writing means to you, and if the latter, I'd talk about him as a more symbolic figure and what you admire about beliefs that inspired the organization.

Sorry if I'm overly critical on the poem. If it was me judging submissions, I'd much rather talk shop of your bigger ideas and story concepts than read a poem. If this guy is a poetry guy, hey, try it.

  • Sorry, for some specifications, Brandon Sanderson is a Fantasy writer. He hosts a lecture series and a workshop once every semester. The person students apply to is actually his assistant, not specifically him (which means you're really writing to more than just him). The goal of the class is to prepare people to become professional novelists (specifically in the fiction or scifi genre). You make some good points, and I'll think about it, thanks. – Joe-You-Know Sep 28 '18 at 22:03

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