Workshop Guidelines

I mentioned in class that we’d take a structured approach to our workshops. It will be a pretty straightforward structure. I’ll spell it out here.

When a person submits a piece for us to workshop, I’ll post it to our site, on page called “Workshop.” Then, I’ll ask the writer to send us all a note answering the following questions:

  • Is there anything particular you’d like the group to look for in your piece?
  • Do you have any particular questions?
  • Anything you’re trying to work out?

The writer can choose to answer really specifically, with something like, “I’m deciding whether to narrate in the past or present tense” or “I’d like to experiment with more imagery.” The writer can also just answer, simply, “I don’t have specific questions. I’d rather you all just read what I sent.”

Then, as you read, choose 1-3 elements of craft to track through piece. Focus really specifically on those and be prepared to talk about them. I’m listing a bunch of those elements here, but you can choose others that come to mind.

On workshop days, I’ll begin by asking the writers if there’s anything they’d like to say to the group. They can say yes or no. Then each of us will talk through our observations about the elements of craft we focused on. Somebody will start us off and then I’ll ask if anybody else tracked similar elements. Hopefully the conversation will unfold fairly organically from there.

After the workshop, I’ll do my best to send the writer written feedback within a few days.

Some Elements of Craft

Sentence patterns

Continuity and Discontinuity

Pronouns

Verbs

Time

Structure

Imagery

Orienting / guidance for readers

Abstract and concrete diction

Sources and quotation

Tone

Hybrid forms

Character

Paragraphs

Dialogue

Punctuation

Transitions

Exposition

Scenes

Exposition

Place

Narration

Adjectives and Adverbs

VOICE

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