Critiques and Feedback
Students who have taken writing courses or workshops will already be familiar with the general precepts of sharing criticism and feedback about works-in-progress. Still, I would like for you all to familiarize yourselves with my take on the process.

The basic philosophy of any workshop and of any critique should be, "How can I help make this better?" Help is the key word. If both writer and readers keep this in mind, then sharing our work can be a positive and powerfully motivating ex- perience. However, I've been in classes where students have savaged each other's work unnecessarily. That's definitely not the goal here.

While we all may have different styles of communicating what we notice in others' work, each of us is here to learn, and my first goal, as a teacher, is to make sure nobody gets savaged. Though we are all told over and over to "toughen up" and "develop a thick skin," as writers and artists that is not always so easy. I know far too many people who ventured forth with their new work, feeling vulnerable but brave anyway, and got trashed so badly that they packed up their pens and paper and stopped writing. It will be our goal to avoid this.

I am assuming that some students may be new at this, and others may be accomplished writers as well. There is room for everyone if we are all on the same page at the beginning. Let's start with some basic definitions.

Zero/First Draft - This is your very first writing on a particular project. It's what spilled out in the rush of creation and has had little or no second look from you, the author. Usually this is the work about which most writers are the most embarrassed--and protective.
Process for Getting

When you bring copies for all of us, I would suggest that you type or write a note at the top telling us what you want. For instance, if I were to submit a recent story I wrote, my note would consist of the following elements:

Third Draft/New work/Sensitivity between 2 & 3/Hardhitting okay

You might also mention any particular aspects that you know you have trouble with or that you are trying to master:

There seems to be some problem with verb tenses, and I know continuity is all over the map~ assistance there would be appreciated.
~ or ~
I've been told this piece lacks flow and is inconsistent. I don't know what that means? Any ideas for making it less like that would sure help.

The important thing to note: If you tell people what you want, they can give it to you.

Our Ultimate Goal
The goal of the workshop part of the class is to help one another improve our writing and to learn new skills and techniques so that we advance in the craft of writing. For further information on critiquing, you may want to read Heather Grove's informative article HERE.
Guidelines for the Writer

1. Provide a typed, easy-to-read piece of up to 20 pages. Please use a 12-point font with at least a space-and-a-half between lines . . .

Guidelines for the Reader

1. Check to see what the writer is asking for in terms of feedback, and get into a mindset to do your part to meet the request. Don't overstep.
A List of "Don'ts " to
Keep in Mind While Critiquing Others' Writing

1. Don't rewrite the story. Just take it on its own merits and work with what is there.
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