4/18 – 19 Introduction to Workshop

Monday and Tuesday we are going to start looking at what it means to workshop.

Monday, with the sub, you will take a look at the Workshop (Critique) tab (above). In particular, I’ll ask you to watch the video there, where Sarah Green from the Art Assignment introduces the etiquette of critique.

I’ll also ask you to read the links on that page:

For each think you read/view about workshop, I want you to jot down what you notice in your writer’s notebook.

Tuesday, we’ll talk about what you learned.

Here’s what you said today

  • Workshop is when you gather to share and critique writing
  • The intent is to help each other improve
  • During critique, the writer is silent, a “fly on the wall” (this makes sure that the writing is speaking for itself)
  • It’s not just about what’s working — but you always START with what works
  • It’s not just about what’s not working
  • Do NOT USE “YOU.” Talk about the writer in the 3rd person: The writer… or Jane… or she….
  • Come prepared to workshop with the works read and annotated
  • Vague comments don’t help anyone: flow, interesting, good, bad, etc.
    • Refer to specific words, sentences, lines, stanzas, paragraphs
    • Refer to specific elements: plot, metaphor, lineation, etc.

Then we’ll practice workshop a piece I’ve written. I volunteer something I’ve written because (a) I don’t think it’s fair for me to ask you to do something I’m not willing to do (b) it’s safer to critique my work than yours in a practice scenario.

Note that I’m not interested in you making half-hearted comments about the “flow” of a piece or even vague comments about the things we’ve worked on in our writing units. Instead, I want you to really get in there and poke around.




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