September 8, 2006, Newsletter Issue #77: Workshops

Tip of the Week

The basic format of a writing program is workshop. You´ll have 6-12 people working on similar projects as you, led by an older, more experienced writer. You submit 2-3 stories each semester, and each week will read and critique the work of your classmates. You MUST give proper time and energy to reading and critiquing your classmates´ work. They´re doing the same for you.

Each workshop meeting, a discussion will center around individual pieces of submitted work. You will be expected to participate in this discussion, offering your ideas on how to improve the piece. It is a good idea to type up a 1-2 page summary of your thoughts on the piece, so that you can refer to it during the discussion. Summaries are also helpful to the writer when they revise their work.

When your own piece gets workshopped, you will listen, but participate only minimally. The workshop will discuss your story like a piece of literature, analyzing plot, character, imagery, etc. Then they´ll turn to critique--what you could do to improve the piece. Getting workshopped can be stressful at times, but remember: your fellow writers are trying to help. Try not to take comments too personally.

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